Monday, August 31, 2009

Bittersweet




It was 1952 but it could have been yesterday. The Today Show made its debut, Harry Truman was POTUS, the B-52 completed its initial flight, Albert Schweitzer won the Nobel, The Yankees beat the Dodgers in the series and RCVman was born. See photo with Mom.

This has always been a bittersweet day. Many years ago it symbolized the end of summer and the return to school. It was always too hot to be indoors in Southern California in September and wearing stiff, heavy and itchy Catholic School uniforms and new shoes after going barefoot all summer, was as painful as getting lectures from the Nuns.

Later, much later, the end of August represented glorious trips to Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. Ironman Canada has always been the last week of August gleefully coinciding with my birthday, For those of you that know the pain involved with this event, you understand, again, my intentional use of the word 'bittersweet'. It has been ten years now that I have made the annual trek to the Okanagon. With the exception of two years ago when I was denied entry for a "misunderstanding" and went instead to Louisville, KY, to film IMKY. That is another story altogether, and not for today, however.

So here we are, August 31, 2009. Lot's has gone down. It has been 20,805 days since my debut. A few of those days have been good, a few not-so-good and a few outstanding. OK, a couple even flat out sucked. But the new goal is this: I want to find a way to make each day from here on out, and I seriously doubt that I will get another 20K, outstanding.

And that will begin in an hour when I ride my birthday century, the Chilly Hilly Trey.

Yes, that will hurt a little. But as we have examined over the last few years in the House of Pain, suffering, pain, value, fun, fitness and quality of life are all subject to interpretation.

As sometimes is the bittersweet definition of yesterday.

Friday, August 28, 2009

HRV

That would be Hurricane Ridge Video. Would have had it up last night but got busted again by the WMG gestapo. Zappa this time, which is so hilariously ironic in light of FZ devoting an entire double album of reality inspired satire to these sleeze mongers. Oh well, out of Joe's Garage and up the Heart O' the Hills we go.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hurricane Ridge




Up in 2:02:12 on a glorious day, down in 33:23 on a wickedly windy descent. You should have been there. All is not lost, however, as the fearless local RCV crew (RG shown in Subaru at top) did the hard work for you. Posting of video samples maybe later, surely tomorrow.

OASN: The summer CompuTrainer sale ends ceremoniously on my birthday, which is also next Monday. If you're looking for a $200 savings AND A FREE REAL COURSE VIDEO (we need to stop that - and I have a plan), go here now.

RG heads up the local RCV crew, he was tagged RCVdad for his efforts today.
Heart O' the Hills is lined with (biking) gold.
Almost to the top.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And I thought...



I had some bike handling skills.......

NOT!

Stars Fell on Alabama Last Night

The USAT Nationals from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Sex, drugs and a Barbershop Quartet! (This is version 2.0 with an alternate ending)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Real Critique Venue



RCVman as critic.

I suppose it was inevitable. I go to a lot of races. I record them to video. I then take the footage and create training DVDs for CompuTrainer as well as trite little event snippets, married with 'borrowed' music, for YouTube and blog entertainment purposes. All fun stuff. However, there is a reason that prior to any Hollywood film you see the "standard movie disclaimer' announcing that the following film is not necessarily the views or opinions of the studio, producers, or anybody who stands to be sued as a result of some first amendment challenged idiot taking offense to the content. Trust me, this sadly happens all too often.

So when I was asked to review, more accurately critique, the events that I cover, I was a little concerned that a "conflict of interest' situation might arise, biting the very hand that feeds. As a former event director, card-carrying member of the media and active race participant for over 15 years, I have perhaps a unique understanding of all that goes on from the time of conception to the first birthday of an event. The immediate image of Dad chain smoking Camel straights in the maternity waiting room nails the anxiety filled life of a first time event director. So many things can go wrong, potentially scarring the little one for life.

Further, I like these guys. I know what they have to go through and the degree of difficulty associated with their jobs. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here blogging for you. Yes, there are massive egos and flat out jerks, but for the most part the people involved with triathlon do it because they love the sport. And that, my dear friends, is a pretty good place to start. So me, calling to light their weakness, failures or oversights, is going to be a rough row to hoe. But I'll give it a go.

And we'll start with yesterdays USAT National Age Group Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

One would expect that the national governing body of triathlon should be able to walk the walk (or swim the swim, bike the bike or run the run), There are now over 125,000 members of USAT with over 3,000 sanctioned events. They can stage one of their own once a year, right?

Right, they can. And did. And do. With the event location changing every two years to add a touch of spice, AKA Super Bowl.

That is not to say that they do it PERFECTLY, however, and here is where we get into an interesting opportunity to examine ourselves and contribute towards our sports improvement.

THE GOOD
Tuscaloosa, Alabama. University of Alabama. The Black Warrior River. The Riverwalk. Tim Yount, Charlie Crawford and solid supporting sponsorship.

THE BAD
Army Corps of Engineers. Whomever measured the bike and run courses, the inclusion of ITU events after the AG Championships. Bike turnarounds. Mile markers. Wave start timing. AG whiners.

Right from the start of this exercise I want to lay the foundation for what is to follow by saying that I am a firm believer in playing the hand you're dealt. That means on race day. Environmental factors out of our control are not subject to critique, comment, yes, whining no. Not now and not ever. It is not the fault of the RD that it rained, the tech director did not arrange for 20-mph headwinds as you climbed the course and it should be understood that if you are sweating in the 100 degree summer sun, so is the guy ahead of you.
Granted you need to consider these things in the initial course design and have workable backups ready as well as course necessities (ice, water, signs, gels, information) but after than, we, as athletes, are on our own. No outside assistance. You either make it through or DNF. Be prepared.

It had rained hard the week of the race. The Black Warrior River was swollen with brown water that looked as ominous as its name. The (infamous) Army Corps of Engineers decided to open the upstream floodgates the morning of the race causing a current that made the 1500 meter swim seem like 2.4 miles to many. I have no idea if there was a dialogue between USAT and whomever gave the "open the gate" green light, but the fact remained that at race time, the water was movin' pretty fast in the opposite direction. Tough. Swim a little smoother and get your ass upstream.

It appears that both the bike and run courses were short. My Garmin 305 had the bike at 23.89 and we did the two laps pretty much with the group at just under an hour (59:44) with a max speed of 40.9, very legit. There was a perfect spot to extend the mileage and set the distance standard at the first turnaround, where it so happens a moto collided with a cyclist because the turn cones were placed way too narrow, ye ol bottleneck. On this some one could have done a better job.

The run was as beautiful a course as I have seen, along the river path with zero traffic. Yes the sun was hot. The 6.2 miles could have been short as well but I did not measure it. Both the bike and runs were the same distance for everybody. Yes, the governing body should have nailed this, but there was no advantage accrued so I am quite confident that they will do the nailing next year.

I am big on intangibles, those things felt rather than seen. The expo was OK, registration a breeze and info on the race logistics, plentiful. There was a video on the USAT site, sessions with staff and officials and plenty more. If you had a question, you could find someone who had an answer.

I am not a fan of wave starts. I like the big bang. More for clarity at the finish I suppose than any other reason. The first person back, wins. With wave starts and especially the way that USAT overkills in the attempt to break up bike packs, is annoying, confusing and boring. They even create a 30 minute break BETWEEN the waves. Talk about nullifying drama at the finish line.

The finish area, transitions and course were all superb. Good food, nice awards, music, and a sanitary, efficient bike pen. For once there were enough porta potties. Lotsa cops and smiling volunteers helped. The media was notably nonplussed, however as it was me and Endurance Films. No big guns.

This venue is as perfect for multi-sport racing as they get. The Birmingham airport is an hour away, there are plenty of cheap motels and a Krispy Kreme was open at 0500 race day morning. The day was ideal. The object is to have outdoor, recreational, wholesome fun. If that means winning your age group, that is fine. Tuscaloosa is a cheap date compared to the high maintenance events I recently shot in New York, Calgary, and yes even Everett, Washington. As I sit and blog in the Houston airport waiting for my connecting flight home (and I have issues, Continental, being a former shortstop, boarding at Gate E6), I think of how lucky we are to be able to do all this.

We have only one more year here and then it's on to a new venue, a new start. In a sport logistically as demanding as ours is it asking too much to get it right the first time?

THE GRADE
Because I believe that the correct answer to the above is no, the first RCVman course review grades out this effort at 90% of max, good for an A-.

Please tell me if you disagree. And no whining.

USAT's Tim Yount, 19 years is nothing to cough about.
In the Black Warrior with 10 seconds to go.

RCVman ran his first triathlon while working in the MWR department of the DoD in the Indian Ocean. He has been event director for over 500 events and since 1999 has been combining his passions for triathlon and film onto video. Currently he produces the popular Real Course Video line for CompuTrainer. You can follow his travel and work at RCVman.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Bear






A quick wrap-up from AG Nats in Tuscaloosa. Simply put, the day rocked. Beautiful weather, perfect racing conditions and a thousand AGers from San Diego to Sarasota mixing it up. With the added bonus of the National ITU Championship going off after the main event we (my drivers and I) managed to capture some rather tasty video bits (I am reviewing back in the motel as we speak) so I should have a highlight vid up by Wednesday.

It has already been a ten hour day, so I'll leave you with some stills and the metaphorical promise of a better video tomorrow.

Paul W. (Bear) Bryant would be pleased to know that today RCVman got the bear.

'bout time.

Top to Bot:

ITU gals heading into T2
The red carpet treatment.
The crowded 11th wave, M40-44 set to go.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Speed




Tuscaloosa is named after the Choctaw chieftain Tuskaloosa (which means Black Warrior in that language), who battled and was defeated by Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mauvila, per our discussion yesterday and from Wikipedia. Tomorrow's swim, by way of historical footnote, is in the Black Warrior river. Which currently is under threatening skies filled with thunder and threatening moisture.

Spent most of the day tracking down the plethora of individuals necessary to pull off the shoot. As most of you know this is a different organization than the one we usually deal with (WTC) so I almost had to start from scratch. Luckily I have some history with Tim Yount, the multi-talented media director and USAT VP. He pretty much got me set up, but I still had to do the leg work. And I still have a few calls to make before getting some shut eye.

The UoA campus is spectacular, a combination of history, tradition and alumni gratitude. Grandiose, sprawling and splashed in red. Had a chance to visit the Bear Bryant museum and it was wall to wall with over 100 years of Crimson Tide lore. It was very painful to watch (again) the thrashing the Huskies took at the hands of the Tide in the 1986 Sun Bowl. That team was led by one man wrecking crew Cornelius Bennett and very emphatically changed the course of UW football as after that single humiliaating game the Dawgfather himself, declared, "we need to recruit more speed". They did and four years later won a National Championship. Remember when I once said that the only real winning is losing? Case in point.

Couple of pix from todays whirlwind:

I take back everything I have said about Texas. Kinda.
The Super Bowl is here (and tomorrow).
You do NOT want to be making major last minute adjustments to your bike the night before a big race. Trust me on this one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Illusions




Out today for the USAT Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Lot's has gone down the last 72 hours, some good, some real good and some not-so-good. You know, life. This roller coaster activity always reminds me of Richard Bach's wonderful tale of Donald Shimoda in Illusions, and especially the ending where, after making the case as a reluctant messiah for the entire work, he sums it all up by saying, "Everything in this book could be wrong."

Is the real art the bike or the canvas? (Sheridan Lobby in NYC)
What is the subject/object when I shoot Junior shooting the birthday cake? (Kim's)
Is this the mountain or the mountain-not? (Rainier)

I have an electric sneaking feeling that some (all?) of these questions will become answers as I spend another turbo-charged race weekend at the home of the Crimson Tide. Going to try some new stuff, podcasts, more interviews, so stay tuned.

Also as an update, the BIPABI ride has changed dates and will now depart the BAC at noon on Thursday, 8.27, a week from today. We'll stay the night in PA and ride back Friday. Please drop me a line if you plan on riding.

Your help and comments, as always, are most appreciated.

Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.
Richard Bach


Commence travel now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lake Stevens

Here is the Lake Stevens piece. A good lesson in suffering.

Monday, August 17, 2009

While we wait

For the Utoob cops to OK the latest course review of Lake Stevens, here is a little entertainment compliments of Special Agent Wardy working the UK beat.
video

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hey Yogi



The bear. He got me today. Again. That course. That curse is coursed. It is the FIFTH time I have shot Lake Stevens. All with the same result. Bear doodoo. I suppose there is some consolation in getting killer swim video and finish line exclusive interviews with Michellie Jones, Linsey Corbin, Melanie McQuade and Mens overall winner Joe Gambles (with a smokin' course record 3:56:36), but my raison d' etre, filming the bike course, provided video as if shot by YTB himself. Not that Yogi (with BooBoo as grip) was a bad videographer, but......

About ten minutes prior to start I found out they made some changes to the bike course from my old buddy Tim Becker. As the Garmins were having trouble with satellite acquisition and I had to re-mount the camera, and blah and blah and more blah, so by the time I was ready (and the fog was lifting) there were very few racers heading out onto the course e.g. no one to follow. I take a wrong turn where the old course used to go and suddenly I am alone. Lost in the woods. Great start. Then the camera starts to act up and I lose focus, of every definition. It gets worse........

...but I will spare you the gory details of my demise at the hands of the bear. I am going to salvage what video I can and learn the latest lessons. Next week is the USAT National Age Group Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

I will get the bear. You might want to head for Yellostone Yog.

The swim start on the lake.
Women's Top Three: Becky Levelle (4:28:16 & center) Heather Wurtele (right) and Michellie Jones (under the Aussie flag)

Rendering video. I'll have something fer yall tomorrow. Going to hibernate for a spell.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Ya Gonna Call?



A few quick notes before we (the new SSSII and I) take off for Lake Stevens.

Went to the first matinee screening of The Time Travelers Wife yesterday and report that while I enjoyed it immensely, there were two glaring issues that still are bothering me. One was the ending. Not what I wanted, expected or appreciated. I am quite confident that the DVD extras will contain two, maybe more alternate endings. You have my advance permission to pick one. Otherwise the competent director, Robert Schwentke does a excellent job with the films more powerful moments being the most subtle. If you read the book you will know to what I refer. If you haven't read the book, please do. If you will see the movie without reading the book first, you have a treat in store. The other issue I had was with the casting. Rachel McAdams is fine as Claire, and Eric Bana wears Henry's shoes well, BUT, he has an uncanny resemblance to Bill Murray, worse, the supporting role of Gomez, which could have mined gold, was downplayed by Roy Livingston WHO LOOKS LIKE DAN AYKROYD. I am watching a pivotal bonding & goodbye scene while wondering if I was gonna soon hear the Ghostbusters theme. Not good for serious drama. So there is that.

I am experimenting with a new production technique this weekend. Because we now have a new media outlet, www.Racecoursereview.com I need to get the RCV highlight vidz out quicker. Like in a day as compared to the good old days (last week) when I could take two days. Talk about Time Traveling. So I already have the music selected and I will listen to these five songs tonight and tomorrow as I capture the race images. We used to say "shoot to edit" when in the field, and now I am trying out the "shoot to edit to music" approach. You, loyal VBA, will be the first to see and hear the success of this all new capture system. The five tunes (All Sub-Pop and available at iTunes Sub-Pop essentials):

Shine a Light, Wolf Parade
About a Girl, Nirvana
Keep Your Eyes Ahead, The Helio Sequence
Mykonos, Fleet Foxes
Playful Sounds..., 5ive Style

All for today. Looks like we're gonna get some sun. Who ya Gonna Call?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Arms Around Bainbridge


This just in from longtime spinner turned long distance swimmer Heather Burger on the 3rd annual Arms Around Bainbridge, a relay swim around our rock in the middle of the freezing waters of Puget Sound. And please check out the stunning photography by Pete Saloutos.

This is a great local event and I would join in the festivities except that I refuse to swim a yard over 2.4 miles, as you know. I mentioned the other day in class that there are people out there doing incredible endurance events for noteworthy causes, and in this case, for one deserving local negotiating with cancer. This event, this cause, this swim, this group, this individual make me proud to be here.

BIPABI update

OK, nobody likes the name (or knows the route) yet. You soon will on both. These two additions as I ready the SSSII (Super Shooter Scooter Deuce) for the weekends shoot up at Lake Stevens.

Addition One: The destination hotel will be the PA Red Lion on the bay. A little pricey for my tastes but after a 75 miler (plus spin class) I think we are deserving.

Addition Two: The beneficiary of our little out & back will be the BI Boys & Girls Club. And here's how that works:

Addition Two and a Half: In order to participate in this grand cycling adventure you must raise $100 for the B&G Club. Straightforward enough? I would really like to present them with a check for a thousand dollars, so let's see if we can muster up ten butts for ten saddles, shall we?

Again, August 26 & 27. Bainbridge Island (Athletic Club) to the Red Lion in Port Angeles. 75 miles one way. $100 entry ante for Boys & Girls Club of BI. It's BIPABI.

Bi-PAW-bee.

It'll grow on ya.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

BIPABI

Since you know that I have extensive experience working with the US Navy, it should come as no surprise that I am accustomed to the use (and misuse) of acronyms. In this case, the title acro translates to: Bainbridge Island to Port Angeles to Bainbridge Island, and assumes that you understand that THAT means by bike. It is pronounced (By-PAW-Bee) and will take place on Wednesday & Thursday, August 26 & 27. Isn't it nice to be young, free and adventurous?????

We will ride from our Island home to PA leaving early to avoid what little mid-week traffic is left of the tourist season, reserve semi-luxurious motel accommodations in the Port of Angeles, have a wonderful dinner on the town, and ride back the next day. All this by popular demand by the newly empowered psycho-spinners, who seem to be on the brink of taking over the world (or at the very least, bringing about national health care reform). I am toying with the idea of adding a Hurricane Ridge side trip on Thursday, but that might make even Lance wince, not to mention David Byrne . All this is in preparation for next years BIG TRIP to either (it was agreed) Italy, France, New Zealand or North Dakota. Lot's more details to quickly follow, but I decided that it was more blog-worthy to get this cool news out than for me to bore you with the second installment of my "Why I" series. With apologies to the laughing fat guy of course.

So gimme some feedback folks:

Like the ride?
Costs?
Supported?
Sponsor?
Beneficiary?
Jerseys?
North Dakota?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tofu

Last week I boldly went where no other RCV blogger has gone before (like there are lot of us). I said that I would tell you why my preferences are; a vegetarian diet, a Taoist perspective, a multi-colored pallet, and a non-attached lifestyle. Perhaps you have already connected these dots and concluded that a tofu eating, passive, eternally optimistic, liberal triathlete is, of course, going to be single.....but that isn't the point. So let's start with the first item and see where we end up. (I will give you a hint and say where-ever THAT is it will still be here & now).

Food: Meat is not necessary. I have proven this. I was a guinea pig for the DOD in the same way that Ken Kesey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Kesey was for the government (CIA) when they were testing the results of LSD on otherwise staid and intelligent Stanford students in the early 60's. I went from your typical 30 year old dufus bozo, eating burgers and steaks and chicken and fish (and calling softball and beer drinking exercise), to a vegetarian diet in the 40/30/30 ratio of carbs/protein/fat. I also upped the workout ante and discovered an odd little sport called triathlon. I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins http://www.foodrevolution.org/market/products1.htm, started martial arts, began to meditate, and, well, passed the test. That was many years ago. If you want to justify your carnivorous habits by saying that you need meat for protein, please don't. That is a campaign very successfully waged and staged by the people that directly profit from the meat industry. I don't care if YOU want to eat meat. That is YOUR choice. I KNOW it tastes good. It is just not for me. I will have curried tofu with spinach tonight and sleep well after my two workouts. That will be enough. Oh, and btw, there are nine other reasons, but I just got hungry, so, we'll get to those a little later............

And this new addition to the RCVman extended family of digital and delightful doings....http://www.racecoursereview.com/

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just two things

I have to report today, other than the 23 listed below, which summarize almost every one of the 511 RCVman posts to this day, in some connotation, syntax or tone. I might copy this list (the 23) and carry it around with me for quick reference. As far as the first list, I want you to memorize it for present and future use. And I'm sorry and I love you.

TWO THINGS:

1) Core strength.
2) Base fitness.

23 Phrases to Help You Fight Right



Please try to understand my point of view.
Wait, can I take that back?
You don’t have to solve this—it helps me just to talk to you.
This is important to me. Please listen.
I overreacted.
I see you’re in a tough position.
I can see my part in this.
I hadn’t thought of it that way before.
I could be wrong.
Let’s agree to disagree on that.
This isn’t just your problem; it’s our problem.
I’m feeling unappreciated. [Always, my craving for gold stars!]
We’re getting off the subject.
You’ve convinced me.
Let’s take a break for a few minutes. [If you can remember to do this, it’s extremely effective—especially if you’re having a big fight. After a break, it’s almost impossible to go back to yelling.]
Please keep talking to me.
I realize it's not your fault.
That came out all wrong.
I see how I contributed to the problem.
What are we really fighting about?
How can I make things better?
I’m sorry.
I love you.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/happinessproject/default.aspx

Frighteningly Fast





The fit get fitter
as the fat get fatter.
Then the fat get fitter
as the fit get fatter.

When the fat get fitter,
(as the fit get fatter)
fatness becomes fitness
frighteningly fast.


Wrapped up the Big Weekend endurance fest yesterday with the RootsRock 1/2 Trail Marathon. The run was preceded by a bike ride there and followed by a bike ride back. Overcast skies made for comfortable racing conditions, and the course, as advertised, had a little bit of everything, long climbs, single-track, screaming blind descents and a BBQ with a Widmar Bros. keg at the finish. After our six hour ride on Friday and Saturday's rather up-tempo (to say the least) 90 min spin, this final workout of the weekend, was as fun as it was demanding. Perhaps more accurately, it hurt.

I love running off road and this morning I was reminded just how quickly the body adapts to even and flat running surfaces. Today my ankles hurt, my calves are on fire and high quads remind of the day after my first marathon when I had to walk backwards down the stairs. All good stuff.

Big thanks to Chris and Brooke for their work with the run series and congratulations to my pal Jim Savage who took the overall. Hats off as well to my old running mate Greg Proehls who hammered out another successful event despite his ongoing battle with a mysterious and nasty malady affecting his inner ear equilibrium. I am not sure of the exact nature of this affliction but to see Greg out there fighting through it when upon completing he can barely maintain balance, is inspiring to me. About a dozen years ago Greg and I were teammates at Port Angeles' Big Hurt, where we set a Masters record that stands to this day. Thanks Greg, you are a hero to many and a model of courage to me.

Finish line BBQ with keg; Ah, the good ol' days!
Pt. Gamble 8% hill to loading pier. For my collection of signs indicating grade.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hummmmm



Some VERY interesting observations on our approach to healthy lifestyle choices and the age old in/out calorie conundrum from Time magazine. I will say up front that there are many astute points made in this lengthy article. Equally as many "off-base" ones. See if you can decipher which are which. Isn't that ALWAYS the chore?

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1914857,00.html

Big Weekend


Couple of quick items:

First is this from Google.

Their fantastic, albeit somewhat Orwellian, Street View app capture set up looks eerily like RCVman doing his thing. Nice rig guys. Try it for five plus hours at an Ironman and report back to me!!!!!
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2009621067_googleparis08.html

Second is the next two events on our BIG Weekend series: This morning we'll spin for 90 minutes (popcorn, natch) and then tomorrow we'll ride to Pt. Gamble, do the Rootsrock 1/2 trail mary, http://www.rootsrockrun.com and then ride back. After that you can have the rest of the weekend to get the chores done.

Hot fun in the summertime.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Post 66




I'll be brief today as we just hammered out a 66 miler (Chilly Hilly X2 for you locals) and I need to eat, watch my Netflix doc on Steely Dan and get my tired booty to bed early in order to make the wake up call for tomorrow's 90 min spin. This is what happens when I try to be brief, sentences seem to run on a bit......

Randomly noted, however, before the curtain falls:

The new Seattle Transit (photo of the main entry) light rail from Pioneer Square to Sea-Tac (requires a last leg & free shuttle bus) is in keeping with European public transportation standards. Meaning, it works. $2.50 (!) gets you there in 30 minutes. And again for you locals, it's just an easy three block walk from the ferry terminal at 3rd & James.

Stephanie did the 66 today without breaking a sweat and is fully prepped for RSVP next week. I stand in full adulation mode of her prowess.

The Phase 126 studio project got a much needed shot in the arm yesterday as Brother Michael and Nephew Joe, crafted out the new arched portal. Pix on that AND Joe's ultra-cool soccer commercial coming soon.

We have some sweet deals/promos in the works for Kona this year. Allow me to be the first to let the kitty peek from the bag by leaking one clue: compression.

The UW Huskies will win 5 games this year. (Coming of an 0-12 campaign). RCVman, a UW football booster since 1977 (think Warren Moon, Blair Bush and Dave Browning) has seen it all since then, from Rose Bowls to the toilet bowl. Still I bark purple and gold. Go get 'em lads. All other team sports are a waste of time.

All for today.

Next weeks topics (outside of triathlon and training):

Why I am vegetarian,
Why I am Buddhist,
Why Goldman-Sachs sucks.
Why the sky is blue (on occasion), and,
Why I am single.

If you care to venture an early guess to any of the above, have at it and sleep well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

0my

Training, with apologies to Mike Mac and Confucius,

More is more, until
Less is more. Then,
More is less, until
More is more. Then
Less is more, because
more is more.
More-less.

RCVman 08.05.09.0my

Music

Many people have inquired about my music selections for the RCV videos. Excellent!!! I can break it down into three broad, yet concise categories:

1) Music I own, have licensed, created, produced or been given permission to use. I usually hammer my talented musician friends with requests until they throw in the towel and agree. This also includes "music" I have created via Apple Garage Band. Of the 71 scores currently accompanying RCVman moving images, a somewhat embarrassing 9.7% fall into this category. PLEASE note, that if (and when) I have the time, I will significantly increase this ratio. As a perfect example, I wrote a rather 'interesting' little number yesterday. Three chords, key of A, with a twisted minor 7th bridge that defies logic. The difference between me on the couch with my Yamaha acoustic, and mastering to today's quality standards is about 50 hours of studio time. No got amigo. Additionally, PLEASE let me state here and now my philosophy on the next category. "Using" other people music. This may stimulate serious debate, but here it is, without a net. There is no charge for watching RCVman videos. I am not making a profit off of some one else's music. MOF, in most cases what I really doing is promoting obscure, forgotten, little known or previously unheard tunes to an altogether new audience. Is that a service or a crime? Do you think that Bela Fleck would object to me using one of his beautiful tunes to show young, healthy folks having wholesome fun and being good role models to an audience that otherwise would have never known of him? The real issue is that while Bela wouldn't object, his record label might. After all they are in it for the gold, and feel that this use deserves a royalty payment, sometimes into the thousands of dollars. No can do, senor.

2) iTunes from musicians other than Warmer Music Group (WMG). These slimy bastards actually spent millions of dollars developing software that detects one of their licensed acts when used on YouTube and automatically disables the audio. This has caused quite a stir as you can imagine. To be fair, the jury is still out as to who is really to blame in the power struggle for pennies (actually millions), WMG or Google themselves. The point being that if you are going to post to YouTube DO NOT use a WMG artist or song. Sony, otoh, has the right idea, they (developing similar software) ID the tune and artist with a clean little lower third drop down box and ask if you want to buy the song at iTunes. Wow, everybody wins! I have many times had comments saying 'thanks for using that old (pick one) song, I forgot what a great tune that is, and yes, I plucked down the .99 and bought it'. How cool is that? How fascist is WMG?

3) I use the second method 90.3% of the time because, well, I am a guitar/drum/banjo/piano/synth/kazoo hacker with limited time to produce music and there is so much good stuff out there just waiting to be heard. By you.

As another perfect example, here is an absolutely incredible live performance by contributors to the Calgary 70.3 piece posted just yesterday, Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer. I would have used this song instead of Big Country, but this true musical gem is not available ANYWHERE.

Don't you feel better already? And hey, there is no charge. Thank you Bela, Edgar and Sony.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CVid

Here is the first take on the Calgary 70.3 video. After a couple of days in post I decided that I can do better. MUCH better. But it will take some time. So, while you get a glimpse of the course and the energy of the event, I am going (as we say) back in to do some tweakage. Might be major tweakage. Either way, YOU, the loyal and demanding VBA, will be first to know. Ye-Haw.

Monday, August 3, 2009

CPix






As I sit and render the Calgary video, here are some of the pix mentioned in earlier posts. I guess I need to upgrade my road tech as having a slow connection in Canadian towns seems to no longer be a valid excuse. Perhaps so.

Cpix: Part of the run course. Weaselhead Rez at North Glenmore Park.
Seventh Avenue, downtown, (big) oil art.
More public art; Check, mate.
My kinda car.
Swim start into the prairie sun.

Video tomorrow. Goodnight.

Calgary Drama

Danger is inherent in drama. There needs to be some type of conflict for heroic action or profound cause/effect. Hollywood knows this, as did Doyle, London, Grey, and Tolkien before them. Woody Guthrie knew it as well as Billie Joe Armstrong. It goes without saying that it is a pre-rec for Professional Wrestling. Triathlon has it on occasion, and often to wildly varying degrees. Consider the yearly drama in Kona as the best in the biz go toe to toe for 140.6 miles in less than 9 hours in the red hot Big Island sun. Much, much further back in the pack the drama is no less intense as age groupers struggle not so much against the time-clock as against the age-clock. It can be a war zone back there, with one foot in struggle just to follow the other.

It was a battlefield in Calgary yesterday as the inaugural Calgary 70.3 made it's debut. The drama began on Saturday when high winds, thunderstorms and driving rain added to the mix. Debris was blown off the Calgary Tower, killing a three-year old innocently walking several stories beneath, and the same tornado force winds took down a music stage during an outdoor concert, killing one and injuring hundreds. Kevin Costner's Band was about to go onstage when the storm touched down. I was riding on the downtown train heading back to the motel and the winds came thru the open upper windows strong enough to rip plastic advertisements off the walls and send them flying towards the rear of the car. The sky turned black and I saw quaking aspens bend at unnatural angels, grabbing for soil with their straining roots to hang on. The girl opposite me on the train hopped to my side and buried her head in my chest looking for protection. I truly thought the light rail was going to quickly become airborne. And then it passed. The girl apologized for being scared, the sky returned to it's washed out gradient and I thought how much fun it would be to have that power BEHIND you on tomorrow's bike leg.

Saturday night we got thunderstorms that filled the cheap motel room with five second strobes and sub woofer rumbles that rattled the walls. Each raindrop hitting the window sounded like an explosion. The TV went black. We lost the ethostream. And I wondered if the race would be scrubbed as a result. Just before midnight, after one last mental equipment and time schedule check off, I fell into a deep, anxiety filled dream. I dreamt of being alone, behind enemy lines in a battlefield reeking of sulfur and gunpowder. A mortar shell exploded close-by and in a slow motion flash back, a girl held me close, providing ample reason to persevere. My iPhone alarm's marimba sounded at 0400. It was the darkest hour before the light of the new day and I was a touch shell shocked, and anxious to get out and access the damage. The girl was gone.

After all that the race itself was a bit anti-climatic. The bus ride out to Ghost Lake took an hour, rattling already frayed nerves, but allowing fresh conversations thru chance meetings. Once there, things settled in pretty routinely. We've done all this before, still I am always impressed with the zeal and enthusiasm of first time, first event volunteers, who seemed to be everywhere. Swim was into the rising red prairie sun and 1,600 athletes were off on a grand adventure. The bike leg, of which RCV fans are primarily concerned, was, as advertised, rolling and scenic, with only a few "tense" sections on Hwy 1 where the usual vehicle-bike bottlenecks made life interesting for a klick or two. I think it will go for a most enjoyable RCV, and will quickly dispel the myth of all 70.3 bike legs being a standard distance, as this one Garmined out at 58 miles, rather than 56. And, yes, there was a section or two with significant tail winds.

I liked the run best. Through North Glenmore Park, down into the Weaselhead reserve and on a cliff above the winding Elbow River. No cars, no city streets, so four way intersections, no noise other than the rhythmic breathing of athletes under stress and fans shouting encouragement. Lot's of good, clean dramatic fun.

Colorado had a good day in Calgary as Mirinda Carfrae (nee OZ) and Tim O'Donnell took the top pro spots. It was a great day for 70.3 racing in Calgary. I think this event has the potential to become a regular on the circuit, with even the possibility of handling a full Ironman.

But that might be more drama than 1.1 million Calgarians can take just now. Give 'em some R&R and we'll talk after the Stampede.

Pictures and the Calgary highlight video coming within 72. Signing off from Alberta, Canada, on way to YYC.

RCVman, out.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Calgary 1

First look at the city of Calgary. 1.1 million Canadians here, with a good 70% wearing cowboy hats. Cool by me. A touch on the expensive side, cab from the airport to downtown was $40 (no shuttles), dinner for two was $50 at Old Spaghetti House and this morning I had to pry Kurt away from a $5.50 cup of coffee at the Westin. I will faux cheerfully drink Happy Hour Guinness Draughts for $6.25 BUT I WILL NOT DRINK A $5.50 CUP OF COFFEE. A guy has got to have some standards, eh?

Expo was a bit on the light side considering there are 1,700 athletes racing in the inaugural event tomorrow. Logistics are a nightmare, as most multi-point tris are. Spent the better part of the afternoon meeting with my moto guy and going over the check points and meet times. It's gonna be a test, but the weather should hold so we'll get out there, mix it up and see what we can do. From what I have seen and heard so far, the course should be picturesque and demanding. A good combination in any province.

A few pix from today's wanderings: Chess in a downtown park. The Weaslehead canyon where the run travels, and the downtown core's 7th avenue, pretty snazzy street sign! (Note: The internest service here at the Ramada is slow as molassas, so I will post the pix later-sorry)