Monday, May 31, 2010

CPU & Me




RCVman is feverishly working three Mac quad Intels this weekend in the hopes of getting caught up. The modern viodeo/news standard has been set and it is about speed. As in now. It has already been a month since Ironman St. George and three weeks since Alaska. We have done a thousand miles with the Tour of California and tried (with varying degrees of success) to maintain some measurable level of fitness through it all. During these rounds of intense effort as necessitated by the race calendar, life in the RCV fast lane (how we doing so far?) renders to this:

Fly to event
Logistics prep
Race day(s) shoot
Fly from event
Download video
Clean, charge, re-calibrate gear
Edit video
Run in park
Fly to next event

So you can see that there isn't the usual swim-bike-run-spin-stretch schedule in effect at this time. "R" is lucky if he gets in one or two runs a week to go with Wednesday's double spin. The last time he was in the water, it was 100 degrees and glistening girls slid strawberries from fancy flutes.

Now, please, dear VBA, don't be takin' this as a complaint, cause it ain't. It's just facts. I am very, VERY pleased with the ToC video. Calgary 70.3 is in its fifth day of render and we have fun stuff on the horizon.

Further, there is the distinct possibility that we might make a return to Boise in two weeks to, ahem, yes, actually race. With helmet-cam of course. So that would be fun. That way you can actually see, in HD, how slow we are these days.

And speaking of fun, pictured is Faris al Sultan celebrating his first win at Kona, and speaking of beer, we mourn the passing of rebel icon Dennis Hopper, who single-handedly took PBR to cult status, and speaking of style more on our on-going CompuTrainer fashion contest.

Keep those jpgs coming in folks. We'll find the CPUs somewhere.

The Faris photo is by Elizabeth Kreutz, who's terrific work with triathlets, cyclists and Olympians can been seen here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Move the Shell



Part IV in the staggeringly popular Move the Rock series. On Monday, after an exhausting week following the ToC boys for a thousand miles, we had a rare off-day. Accordingly we decided to take (another) Busman's Holiday and head to the beach for some barefoot running in the sand.

I have always liked running in the sand. It kills your calves. If instant feedback is your gauge of intensity and effort, this provides it. Nothing in the gym can compare to the way sand works your feet, ankles, calves and quads.

The only obstacles one needs to heed are jellyfish, broken glass, trash and the occasional dead gull.

As a cheap off-topic editorialism, on this day there were tar-balls galore, tons of trash, and what seemed like happy hour at LAX. It was loud, no mistaking it for the set of Lost. Whatever the opposite of isolated is, this was that. Still, the sun was shinning, the camera was on and the day was ours.

Sister Debbie acted as production assistant and did a super-fine job. Please note, and you have heard me say on many an occasion that comedy is hard, her excellent "straight man" gags. The shell turn, the phone call, the wave from the bike path were all ad-libs, and executed with a professional delivery sure to earn her a much deserved (and long overdue) nomination from the Academy.

Best supporting role in an RCVman YouTube short, goes to.........

In closing, to remind the VBA once again, here is the Move the Rock goal listed here as mission statement:

You are a time crunched executive on the road.
You work hard. Now you need balance.
Find somewhere to run. A park, a playground, lakeside, the beach.
Warm up for 15 minutes easy.
Unleash EVERYTHING YOU GOT for 12 seconds.
Depending on your fitness level, repeat up to four times, with 60 second breaks between.
Cool down for 15 minutes.
Eat clean protein.
Re-hydrate.
Rest and recover.

AS A RESULT:

Your overall health will improve.
Your stress will be managed.
Your body will thank you.
Your spirit will respect you.
Your employer will keep you.
Your spouse will adore you.
Your enemies will cower before you.
Your dog will continue to call you master.

And all you have to do is MOVE THE SHELL.

Part III, coming soon. Don't go away (without a mobile device).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fingers Crossed


In terms of coaching tips, however, the scientific work has yielded little practical advice beyond what we already knew: Each athlete is an experiment of one, sports are good for all of us, some of us might be more motivated to practice than others, and the only way to find out how good each of us can be is to cross our fingers and train. Even though genes are critically important to an individuals athletic potential, at this point in sports-science history we are left in the position of Greek tragic heroes: circumscribed by nature, but with ill-understood wiggle room to direct our fates. David Epstein

Two fascinating articles on the physiological aspects of our training. Also known as scientists in their relentless pursuit of the hows and whys as it relates to our whats and whens.

We know that what we do in training is important. When we do it is also a component. We know inherently that the what relates to intensity and the when to frequency. Or, in rock and roll lyrical terms, the old "all night long". What happens to our muscles, bones, organs, and cells during intense or elongated bouts of exercise has fascinated man since he first recognized the benefits of eating. And please keep in mind that when this light bulb was first illuminated, there were no Costcos or Wal-Marts. If man was to survive he had to run his dinner down, clobber it over the head with a stick or stone and haul it back to the cave (where Mama would take over). In the process of this survival routine, man got good at running. Running fast and running long. He also discovered that foraging for fruits, veggies and tubers was a heck of a lot easier than going mano-a-mano with a javalina or wildebeest - but that is another story altogether. Today I am concerned with these stories about DNA, training, motivation and the quickest way to go from here to there, as in zero to sixty. Fast, consistently fast, and injury-free fast.

And as most of you know by now, I will use any (legal) means to accomplish this. Such as using scientific studies to illustrate or advance a point.

Hence these two comprehensive articles from Sports Illustrated and Time. There is a lot of good news here folks. That these scientists are drawing conclusions from all this testing validates what we have been doing all along. We know, we feel, we have demonstrated the positive effects of training and a complimentary healthful diet. We are aware of the myriad benefits therein. We take personal responsibility for our overall health and quality of life. And while neither article will shout "YES, this is it", they both subtlety concede to the positive potentiality. A welcomed affirmation perhaps.

I know that sometimes it is frustrating that these crucial elements of "success" come a little slower than we would like, we sometimes wish there was a pill. We wish the definitive formula was available on-line or that the propaganda could, for once, be true (washboard abs in thirty days). It ain't.

And this is why these articles intrigue me so much. They get my serotonin, endorphins, dopamine and T-cells all flowing upstream like a Coho headin' home. It makes me think that we are on to something here. It makes me want to go and ride. And ride hard. And run hard up hills. And feel these miraculous changes take place at the cellular level.

I know this is happening. I have faith that it is. I trust that what I am doing will manifest as longevity. I want to do this for a long time to come. Not forever. But as long as I can. As long as it provides me with value, with fun, with joy and with a forum to test my understanding of why we are here.

Articles like these help. They fill in some blanks, connect some dots, answer some questions. Not all of them, but some. When these questions have been answered, there will appear more.

I trust that I will find them out there somewhere riding or running.

With my fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SOTB



CompuTrainer Cruise II: South of the Border.

Following on the success of the CompuTrainer Cruise to Alaska (see photo) RacerMate Inc. is pleased to announce the scheduling of CompuTrainer Cruise II. This value-packed training/riding adventure heading to...

MEXICO!

Coaches Rob Teixiera and Kevin Lynch, aka RCVman, will guide you through seven days of intensive CompuTrainer training and lead outside rides in the three high-profile ports of call, Matzalan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Sound like fun? Si, senor.

We'll leave San Diego on Dec. 4, returning on Dec. 11. A terrific way to kick-off your winter training for the 2011 season. You'll get custom fitted on YOUR bike, do a ten mile time trial on the sail south, ride a daily tailored twenty minute aboard-ship program on a CT, take your bike ashore for group, supported and safe rides, then head to the classroom for instructional session with the coaches. All this in addition to the luxurious amenities aboard the spectacular Holland America Lines, ms Oosterdam. Muy bueno.

And here's where is gets even better. We have secured space at a deep discount for the very limited number of guests we feel we can adequately accommodate with prices starting at just $999 per person. And that includes the cruise, port fees, tax and insurance. You get to San Diego with your bike, and we do the rest! Mucho gusto.

And there's more good news. Upon our return from Alaska almost every person who traveled with us bought a CompuTrainer after seeing, learning and using all its robust features and training tools. So we decided to add this huge perk up front for your convenience, you can now pre-purchase a top-of-the-line, Pro 3D lab edition CompuTrainer as part of this exclusive Mexico Cruise offer for $200 off retail price at the time of booking. Ole!

In summary: Enjoy a luxurious seven days to sunny Mexico, buy at CT at $200 off and train, ride and enjoy the hot spots of Baja California with Coach Rob and Kevin, all for less than a thousand dollars. To reserve your spot please call Carmen at Bainbridge Travel 206.780.6101. Sound too good to be true?

There must be fine print, right?

There is.

Tequila not included.

Gracias amigos. Adios.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WHAT?

Our core philosophy is simple: Do right, do our best, and treat others the way we would like to be treated.

RCVman had the distinct pleasure of speaking before a live audience today. Oh, sure he has done it before, but this one was special. The group were not athletes looking to get faster, students looking to get smarter or members of a health club trying to sweat it off, they were software designers, creative types and corporate executives. They were there to see if the guest speaker had any thing remotely useful they could use in their everyday lives. They all work for a very successful and forward thinking company called the Paladin Data Systems Corporation. The opening italicized line is their corporate philosophy. They are very cool. We had fun (I think-at least nothing was thrown in my direction and nobody fell asleep mid-speech).

The subject matter was.....

Well, you get to guess. The video is a clue.

Does a correlation between the staggering popular Real Course Video line of training products from CompuTrainer and software development actually exist?

Oopps. Are we giving it away?

IS THERE A CONNECTION?

AND IF SO, WHAT?

AND IF SO, WHY?

AND IF SO HOW?

Do you really mean to suggest that the same principles that we use in training are applicable to software design?

Can you, with minimal bloviation, explain?

Yes, I can, said the RCVman, convincingly and without hesitation.

And I can do it in two words, he announced, confidently and completely devoid of arrogance;

Intensity and passion.

Are there any further questions?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rock Store 2011?





I have great idea. One I will share with you. It comes on the heels of the now completed 2010 Amgen Tour of California. It was my second go-around with this ridiculously big cycling event. And as a result of the two tours of media duty, one overtly VIP fully credentialed and one covertly and stealthily under the radar, I came up with this concept:

Make it a Pro-Am. Invite all comers. Use a pre-qualification process so that the thousands of Cat 4 & 5 folks can see and feel what the pros actually have to endure over the course of seven racing days. It would seriously change the perception of pro cycling, in America, anyway.

It could be the Ironman equivalent of Julie Moss in Kona. It took one ultra-dramatic, finish line moment, a Sports Illustrated article, a Dave Scott and Mark Allen rivalry to turn what was once just a crazy one day suffer-fest into the second most-watched one day sporting event in the world. And suddenly cosi fan tutti. As Wolfy might say.

So we open it up. I know, I know, you are already thinking it would be a logistical nightmare. And I give you this point, BUT, it is already a zoo, so why not charge admission?

The reason I say this, and even suggest that it be given consideration, is that during yesterdays wacko finale, four Rock Store laps, each containing TdF like climbs, screaming, even wackier fans, mountain tifosi, the media circus, white-knuckle suicidal technical descents amid an alternating and relentless barter of sun and wind, the true cycling fans, those that ride, were out doing it before the pros. That was a cross section of every type of rider known to man, young, old, male, female, fast, slow, fit, not-so-fit, happy, hurting, efficient, mashers, mountain bikers, trick bikers, unicyclers, tandems, you name it. If it had wheels, and was human powered, it was there. (And in front of my lens).

I will post-script all this post race hubris by saying that the ToC is as good a race as I have seen. The management, course logistics and preparation, daily operations, media, communications, security and safety, volunteers and overall tour execution are an 11 on the 1-10 scale. It is a pleasure to watch as it all unfolds. These guys know how to do it. And they do, consistently and professionally.

Now let's do it for the masses. Make it a Pro-Am.

We could start with one stage.

Rock Store 2011 anyone?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers. Household name, right? Is after today. The Aussie Mr. Rogers was the last man standing when the final particles of dust had settled over the final leg of the 2010 edition of the Amgen Tour of California. Lance crashed, Fabian faded, George and Levi gave it a good go, Dave and Jens hung in there and after seven grueling days, Michael Rogers stood atop the highest rung of the ToC ladder. All rise.

Sure, there were distractions, rain, incidents and allegations, high speed crashes, insanely difficult stages, bad roads, bad TV network decisions, bad press. But a tour is a tour. You play the hand you are dealt. Do the best with what ya got. Go to war with the army you have. Dance with who brung ya.

And sometimes, under these conditions, interesting things happen. The strongest don't always win. The fastest don't always place. And the brightest don't always show.

Sometimes the grand prize is claimed by the smartest. Or luckiest. Or most deserving.

Yes, it happens. Sometimes, even at this extreme level of expertise and professionalism, stuff happens. Sometimes,

there appears a chance. An opening. Possibilities emerge. You roll the laughing bones. Go for broke. Keep at it.

And if you are good enough to hang around long enough, and you put yourself in the position to win,

you just might.

Regardless of your name, pedigree or sponsorship package.

Way to go Michael Rogers.
video

Saturday, May 22, 2010

41:41





LA TT.



It is only 20.9 miles. Which is like saying that Fabian Cancellara is only a guy who rides a bike. Todays was the Stage 7 individual time trial at the Amgen Tour of California. It was in dead solid center downtown Los Angeles. It is the most congested, condensed and chaotic collection of, well, everything, this side of Manhattan. Maybe that is why NY-LA makes of such a juicy hyphenation. Conjures up images, doesn't it?

Today was a big day for the boys. They were being asked to go hard again after a FREAKING BRUTAL (there it is again) Stage 6 135 miles yesterday and by all reports many were seriously considering taking a day off, calling in sick or getting lost on the way to the starting chute. Being there for the entire ride, I don't blame them.

It was big day for the RCVman as he was assigned by Bjarne Riis to ride shotgun in the Saxo Bank team car to be driven by Bobby Julich. We would be tailing GC up-and-comer Matti Breschel. The Saxo Bank squad, despite having a tough tour is filled with stars and reads like a typical Yankee-Dodger series lineup.

* Matti Breschel (DEN)
• Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
• Jakob Fuglsang (DEN)
• Juan José Haedo (ARG)
• Stuart O'Grady (AUS)
• Andy Schleck (LUX)
• Andre Steensen (DEN)
• Jens Voigt (GER)

So off and onto the course we went on a high-speed chase of Matti. The video will reveal what a blast this is, watching Bobby anticipate the course demands via radio to Matti and keeping up with him amid the tight course. RCVman had the A-Cam VERY secure above on the bike rack, the Go-Pro gaffed to the front bumper and was hand wielding the iPhone, all with what at first peek appear to be of scintillating race-day quality.

So tomorrow will wrap it all up. Back to the Rock Store to decide the champion of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. If yesterday's video was gold, today was platinum.

Kinda like what New York is to LA. With all due respect. Oh, and btw, Tony Martin did a 41:41 33.4K out there to win the TT. Whew.

Pix: The Start in LA in front of the Staples Center
Bjarne Riss and Bobby Julich check RCVmans credentials.
The Saxo Bank Team Car with RCVman-cam on the rack. Everything else is blurry.
Downtown LA street art at Union Station. Can't help myself.

Stage 6




Tour of California Stage 6.
Palmdale to Big Bear Lake,
135 miles,
12,000 feet of elevation gain,
A hot day.
Cheering fans and money on the line,
Can one word sum all this?

Yes.

BRUTAL.

No, that doesn't do it justice. I need an another adjective (or limerick or Shakespearean sonnet or maybe even a a 7.5.7 Haiku). I am opting for the easy way out this morning because the race defining 20.9 time trial starts in downtown LA in a little over five hours and I have six hours of work to do prior. So you get one juicy word to add to the above descriptor.

Freaking.

That, in the popular vernacular, pretty well describes it.

FREAKING BRUTAL.

You will, I guarantee, hear many derivatives and variants of this when you read, hear or watch this stage replayed and rehashed. None of them will work any better. Some will call it cruel, some classic, some demanding, and others yet, will take a stab at signing it with their signature sporting syntax. They are all good. And they are all applicable. But for my money, to describe what took place over those ridiculous 135 miles under a blazing California sun, was cycling spectacle and athleticism at its absolute finest. I stand in awe today as we prep for the TT.

More, much more (and I got both the mountain stages on film) later. But for toady as we flirt with that elusive paradox of exhaustion and excitement, the saga continues, with the cellular level understanding of yesterday's degree of difficulty. Off the charts, FREAKING BRUTAL.

The Fast Friday Boys (almost) ready to go.
Claudia hammers up the first mountain pass.
Finish Line at Big Bear Lake.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chasin the ToC




Chasing the Tour, Day One. We met up with Scott, Kari, Kelly and the four other riders on their group in Pismo Beach this morning. It was a pleasant 180 miles drive up 101 from LA at dawn. I much prefer doing this stretch on bike, but the Dodge Avenger will have to act as motor today. We are tracing stages from ToCs past with the final legs through Santa Barbara County and into Los Olivos. Some of you will remember this as the backdrop for the Trek Wine Country Tour we shot last summer, and as home to the now cult classic "Sideways". The strategy for today and it's warming up nicely, is to shoot a 45-60 minute segment to create a RCV "Rides" line of training products. Cool idea we hope to launch before the snow flies.

Several hours later and we are back in Westlake. The group is bushed after another 65 tough miles today. Scott and Kari are still busy prepping for a CompuTrainer class in the mornings and tomorrows big ride up to Big Bear. The goal there is simply not get caught by the Pro peloton. I plan on shooting as much of the, roughly, 90 miles as I can before they notice I am flying no "race official', "media" or "VIP" colors this year and haul my bandito arse off the course.

I need some shuteye. Big one today and a bigger one tomorrow. Wait till Saturday!

On closing: Hey Floyd, shut the f*%$ up already.

Todays pix:
One of Fess Parkers oak trees and several of his grape vines.
Claudia gets ready to rock her Cervelo.
Start of the ride in Shell Beach.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Match & Natch


Getaway Day. GREAT class this morning, we are making some tremendous gains as a result of the "new" protocols. You know, speed, power, core strength.

Don't have a lot of time for exposition, but I am in search mode for constants. Those things that we do that have been established through trial and error, testing and training, cause and effect to have absolute and constant value.

There is room for discussion here, so I would like to present my initial three groups:

GROUP ONE: Some of the Time: 1) Go hard 2) Go long 3) Go faster

GROUP TWO: Most of the time: 1) Raise your heart-rate 2) Add intensity

GROUP THREE: All the Time 1) Eat better 2) Exercise more

And of course match your sox to your running shoes. Natch.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who said this?





"When I'm working, I like to push it right to the edge. I believe if you're going to do something, you should do it all the way. Don't take a journey if you know you're going to be bored. As far as being competitive, I think the only useful competition I've had is with myself."

Who said this?

A) Mark Cavendish
B) Steve Prefontain
C) Cate Blanchett
D) Sarah Palin

Bonus points (and a chance at the lead) as to why.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tweakage




As you may by now be aware, there are not too many dull moments 'round here. The full-time staff at RCVman Global HQ stays pretty busy keeping up with the demands of the boys upstairs (even though some of them are girls and some are on the first floor). But we did not start the week arguing semantics and we won't end it that way, either.

To start then, let it be known that RCVman himself is a touch tweaked today as a result of the 12,000 meter foot race yesterday in PT. He has a 5K easy recovery run and a bike ride into town scheduled for later in the day. This after working the CompuTrainer Cruise to Alaska video and making marketing plans for the next adventure, which at this date appears to be.....to.....



.....Mexico. Ole.

Many more details are forthcoming. But for intros, first week of December, from San Diego to PV and Cabo, one week. Same great HAL ship, same great accommodations, same format, but, we are adding to the program by taking what we liked and jettisoning what we didn't. Some call this research and development, some call it evolution, some call it common sense. I like to call it tweakage. And here are the more important and immediate tweaks for the CT Cruise Two:

1) We are adding another coaching position to assist in the onboard testing, fitting and training sessions. Coach Rob T has already been offered the right of first refusal and according to his PR department is looking at ways and means to get this into his ultra-busy schedule.

2) Replace the CTs with big brother VeloTron. Pure logistics. HAL can handle the weight via cargo load thusly eliminating the need for bike sherpas (aka me).

3) Replace the POB (Personally Owned Bikes) with demo models of folding bikes. We have already approached several manufacturers of these amazingly light and functional machines and feel that it is a perfect solution to the cumbersomeness of traditional bike shipping, handling and storage.

4) Go somewhere warm.

5) Start the promo asap. Today (as well as being what would have been RCVman's 35th wedding anniversary) is seven months from sail date. Is that time enough?

Tweakage on all fronts.

Pix:
Initial intel into the routes in Puerto Vallarta indicate good roads and plenty of hills. Bueno.
Di Blasi folding bikes are one of several options. Senorita not included.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quattro Formagio



Two quick jpgs from the weekend.

Junior's Red Sox enjoy some post romp pizza on Saturday, and
Steve and Steph after their superlative performance in the 32nd annual Rhody Run in Port Townsend, WA., today.

RCVman took the bronze in his AG, despite a nagging left hamstring strain initially suffered in Juneau last week. Pizza may help.

Get some rest and we'll chat tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Small Planet



RCVman lives on a small island in Puget Sound. A 35 minute ferry ride to downtown Seattle. He likes it here. There are problems like any other hamlet, but for the most part it suits his needs, both professional, social and spiritual.

RCVman first came here in the early 70s as a cultural escape from the even more isolated winters of the Methow Valley, a two hour drive over the Cascades and to the East. His last winter 'on the other side', 1979, was a very cold one with typical week long stretches below freezing. When he settled on Bainbridge the unincorporated population was 5,500. Today the island wide populace totals over 26,000. There are more cars than bikes, more kids in the schools and more trees falling at faster rates. It is a popular burb for lawyers and by most standards the daily commute into Seattle is moderately easy. It does beat the heck out of LA traffic and as a result we have a high demographic of California transplants. RCVman himself was born in LA, not escaping until 1974 headed for Spokane and the Worlds Fair. He now returns only for races, events and filial visits. It's better that way.

But next week he will again return for the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. With the specific task of filming the Stage 7 Time Trial in LA which so happens to be a 20 mile course that will test former Bainbridge Islander Kiel Reijnen as part of the Jelly Belly/Kenda Pro Racing Team. This is One Small Planet.

RCVman was downtown this morning and spotted the Town & Country marquee announcing this fact on Winslow Way, our largest street. This is a big moment for a small town and all of Bainbridge is very proud of Kiel's cycling success.

Bainbridge Island may not be the cycling hot spot the likes of Austin, TX, Boulder, CO or Santa Rosa, CA, but we have Kiel.

And he will be racing against Lance and Levi in LA next week.

Big news for a small island.

Pix:
The only billboard on Winslow Way gets it.
In 2004 we did a 24-hour indoor CompuTrainer ride. One of the riders was a young Kiel Reijnun. Squadra that day from left, Chris, Sully, Glen, Kiel, Jim and RCVman.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blazeman



It is said that observation creates inspiration. I am witness to the power of seeing. In 2005 I watched in Kona as Jon Blais, aka Blazeman, willed his way through the 140 rugged miles of the Ironman World Championships. He was joined that October day by almost 2,000 of the fittest athletes in the world. Yet he was alone in the fact that he was fighting ALS as well as the harsh conditions of the Ironman course. Hailed as the Warrior Poet, John's courageous story was eloquently told by NBC (DVD here) in their annual Emmy winning coverage of this incredible once-a-year event. I am moved every time I watch. Dot one.

Jon finished the Ironman in 2005. The next year, as Jons condition worsened, a surrogate triathlete from Chicago, Brian Breen, ran the event in his honor, celebrating the can-do spirit that Jon so valorously embodied. A legend was being born literally as we watched. Dot two.

Jon's fight for ALS research, his desire to help others, led to the creation of Team Blazeman, an NPO obsessed with raising funds for this noble cause. His symbolic finish-line log roll has been taken up by pro athletes and age groupers alike. His spirit, his poetry, his commitment to an ideal, lives on with each finish, every roll.

Jon died of ALS on May 27, 2007.

Although I feel like I have known them for years, I met Jon's parents, Bob and Mary Ann Blais in St. George, Utah two weeks ago. They were hosting the Blazeman booth across from us and I wandered over during a slow moment to say hi and introduce myself. To say thanks. We started talking, and a during the course of our conversation, a voice in my head began to direct the chat into a plan, an idea, almost like a thousand dots simultaneously being connected by an energy source of unknown, mysterious origin. Dot, dot, dash.

Turns out that Jon's favorite section of the Kona course is the climb to Hawi. He spoke of it many times with friends, its allure, challenge, alignment with the rich values of Hawaiian lore. I have been there, rode there, filmed there, been inspired there. Just last year we filmed that section off the fabled Queen K and as fatigued as my back was I found a magical inner strength to endure. Dots connecting.

Maybe we could do a special edition of our Real Course Videos of that stretch and use it as a fund raiser for the Blazeman Foundation, I blurted. More dots. We already have the video in the can, it is spectacular, all the GPS, and we could film an introduction with you talking about Jon, this section of the course, ALS, Team Blazeman, get some Pros to do likewise and offer it as a fund raiser. BIG DOTS, connecting fast.....

Bob looked at me with huge, sincere, bloodshot Boston eyes, and, with tears about to fall, asked, What do we need to do?

Mega dots. Just say yes, I said, and I will do the rest.

Mary Ann beat him to the verbal punch and I stood there, energized, inspired and suddenly, on a mission, the receiving end of the Blazeman Purple Heart, it felt. And I understood very clearly as a result, where that voice had originated.

CompuTrainer is pleased to announce the launch of a very special product. In Kona for the 2010 Ironman World Championships, A CompuTrainer Real Course Video of the Climb to Hawi will make its debut. This special Blazeman RCV will honor the spirit and courage of Jon Blais, Ironman, Warrior Poet and casualty to ALS. Profits will benefit the Team Blazeman foundation for ALS research.


Observation is inspiration. All dots connected.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Love my Life


I love my life. Really do. Maybe the most important reason as to why this is the truth is that I have always believed the goal is to follow an imperative I heard long ago: Do what you like, love what you do, and the money will follow.

Check, check and, uh, still waiting for the check. (They say it's in the mail).

AND THAT IS OK.

I have everything I need. Some of it in less than perfect condition, some very used, some borderline functional, some woefully outdated and some in need of serious repair. But I have it all. And more important than the material are the spiritual and metaphysical. Which, of course, allows me to see all this junk as meaningless in the big picture. The bigger picture being, the doing of the doing.

It was a glorious return to spin class yesterday morning at 0530, after a week cruising to Alaska doing double sessions on the CompuTrainer and riding outdoors. I already miss our little Alaska group immensely. We fit a year's worth of effort, energy and experience into seven days. Later, the evening class may have been a personal best, as the choreographic and "coaching" seamed to flow perfectly from one song, one climb, one rocker, one sprint in almost sublime harmony. We worked it. When I got home, tired, spent and satisfied, there were five e-mails from folks all adding testimony to the value and rewards of these various efforts.

More, I get to shoot and edit and post video of all this stuff. Next week hooking up with Scott and Kari in Pismo to ride and film and enjoy (again) the absolute glory of the Southern California coastline before hitting LA on Saturday to ride in a team car for the time trial.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Did I crash somewhere at 50mph into a cement truck and wake in Heaven? How good can this get? And they actually PAY me (a little) to do this? Wow, I sometimes think, this is cool.

Could be that I am too easily impressed by these beautiful spring mornings in the Pacific Northwest. It is hard to be angry when the robins sing a-cappella at sunrise with my only responsibility to help others get fit, healthy and race ready.

There are times that I think it might be wise to start to save for a retirement of some type. Maybe invest in a 401, tuck some dough into a savings account or maybe even look into basic health care. The Exploder has 320,000 mile on her. My roof still leaks when it rains hard and I would love to replace my fifteen year old Quintana Roo tri bike with something a little more modern.

But today, as I sit and share all these intimate feelings with you, I am a happy camper. The most important thing in my life is doing what I do.

I love my life. Really do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ToC Backstory

Next assignment: Amgen Tour of California. Here are a couple of quick links to those who can set the stage with much greater elan than I.

As a historical footnote, the 2007 Amgen ToC was our first venture into the majesty and celebrity of this event, which in itself is a page taken from the European Grand Tours, brought to US tarmac. California, with its size, terrain, climate and ever increasing fan base, is an ideal location for this 8 day stage race. There is also rumor that it will be Lance's swan song.

The under informed VBA might ask, if you shot the event in 2007, why are you going back to do it again? That would be a good question. And here is (an abbreviated) response:

1) In 2007 we were in full on R&D. We had no idea of how this farrago of video technology, computer processing, GPS data acquisition and proprietary algorithmic coding was going to work. If indeed it would work at all. Lot's of moving parts here. We had, what we thought at the time, a good idea, and that was about it. There was nobody to call and ask because nobody had done it before. We were landing on the Moon for the first time, with many small steps remaining and several giant leaps still to come. Mistakes were made (many on my watch). Rain fell. Fog rolled in on little cat feet. Equipment was changed, gear added, solutions sought. I lost half my crew to a virus. We were the lead car, up front, filming the rolling closures ahead of the peloton, every day, for over 800 miles. San Francisco to Long Beach. My back hurts just typing that. I did it all hand held. There were six hour stages that upon completion, I couldn't move my arms. One night in Lodi, I hired a bar maid to pour Guinness down the hatch because limbs were locked up and cramping. We nailed it on the fourth try.

2) The GPS data was scrambled to the point of uselessness.

3) With no riders in the action it quickly became evident that the video needed the excitement and energy of the peloton, not simply the passing landscape, albeit gorgeous.

4) Road racing has never been our target demographic, and with the subsequent popularity of the first two Triathlon RCV releases, Coeur d' Alene and Kona, we made the executive decision to process more tris to get initial marketing questions answered and sales results analyzed before expanding into the other fine forms of the cycling world.

5) We have never looked back.

Until now, that is. And I have wanted to go back and give this event the proper respect and updated RCV quality that it deserves. So I fought like a banshee to get back, with both the boss, Amgen, AEG, the event organizers, and several nay-sayers with little faith in my ability to pull it off (you know, realists).

But back we are. I have a spot in the Saxo Bank team car for the 20.9 mile Time Trial in LA on May 22. I am planning on joining up with Scott & Kari's tour three days prior to that and filming with them the rides of stages 5, 6, & 7. Visalia to Big Bear. When all is said and done, we should come away with three stages and the TT.

And the world will be, once again, a peaceful and happy place.

Now you know.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

O&U


Onward and Upward.

Closing photo from our Alaska Cruise (click to enlarge). This was one of the several formal dinners aboard the ms Amsterdam. I had the four mushroom soup, Caesar Salad and a spicy veggie chow mien. Followed by a decidedly decadent fudge sundae. Charter members of the CompuTrainer Alaska Cruise are from left to right: Phil Stanton (seated), Wendy Stanton, Jaeden, RCVman, Kathy Moran, Kristin Kaminski, Katie Callaham, Melinda Irvins, Madaline Irvins.

News on the home front:
1) We are shooting the LA Time Trial of the ToC. National CompuTrainer indoor RCV Contest to follow.
2) We are doing a Blazeman special fund raising RCV of the Kona Hawi climb to raise money for ALS research.
3) Everybody has had nothing but good, positive and constructive things to say about the HAL CT Alaska cruise. Even Nico.

4) I get to run this afternoon.

5) Back to spin-class tomorrow. Weigh-in immediately following. Fingers crossed.

Onward and Upward.

Monday, May 10, 2010

7 Days





Seven Days at Sea. We're home. Alaska in the Books. Average group Time Trial gains: 18%. Almost 100 outdoor miles logged. Whales watched. Mimosas sipped. Fun had by all. Truly a special event. Thank you all. Good night.

Alaska Pix:

Kathy shows of her new Alaska jersey during her second TT
Chinatown in Victoria BC
Mimosas for the off-load breakfast
The CompuTrainer goes from the Amsterdam to Chicago.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Home Tomorrow






We are steaming into Victoria, our last port of call on the inaugural CompuTrainer Alaska Cruise. Today is the second and final 20 mile time trial. The protocols are to perform the same test from Monday and gauge the difference. Phil was first up and cranked out a snappy 1:01, almost seven minutes better than his effort on Tuesday. Katie has been nursing a very sore left knee and made the decision at the halfway point to allow more healing time. A smart move. Kathy is up next attempting to best her 1:30, and then Melinda and Wendo wrap things up.

Tonight we are meeting up with CompuTrainer coach and PT, Noa in Victoria for dinner, heading back to ship at midnight to start the disembarkation process. Everything that isn't carried off needs to be in the hallway by 0030. We hit Pier 91 in Seattle tomorrow at 0700.

It has been a wild week at sea and in Alaska. We totally lucked out and got in three spectacular rides, yesterday at 65 degrees and under beautiful cobalt blue skies. Everyone has made great progress riding inside on the CT in a location on the ms Amsterdam now known as the CompuTrainer Corner. We have visited exotic ports, dined in luxury, hoisted a few glasses of expensive wine and made a number of new friends. Time has flown by. We are all stronger and richer for the efforts.

Home tomorrow.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Ketchikan






CompuTrainer Cruise Update from Ketchikan, Alaska.

We are just now pulling into port in Ketchikan after another spectacular spring day in Sitka. We got in a 30 miler yesterday along the bay and to the ends of both extremes of Sitka's fourteen miles of roads. Rode 'em all!

Juneau's ride was almost forty, including a 5.2 climb to Eagle Nest ski lodge. Our guides of both rides, John and Chris in Juneau and TJ yesterday led us without incident and provided tons of local info and lore. The weather has been perfect and today the forecast is for 60 degrees and no wind, a serious rarity for this time of year.

Everyone is making marked improvement with their indoor sessions and Phil has gregariously added a night CT seminar to the program to answer detailed questions about coaching software, building erg files, using spin scan and even ways to use RCVs even if you don't plan on racing an IM soon. All very good info.

Katie holds onto the yellow jersey as a result of her 1:06 TT effort on Tuesday with Phil in the hunt at 1:08. After today's ride and evening twenty minute power session, we stage the final TT tomorrow on the sail home to determine who has made the greatest progress and declare the overall champ. There are a few asterisks added to the times, as the initial TT was stages under particularly difficult conditions, saw two riders drop to sea-sickness and Katie is no nursing a tender left knee.

All part of the rugged, adventurous and wild CompuTrainer Cruise to Alaska. We have seen whales, eagles, mountain goats, otters galore and a great deal of indoor cycling improvement and outdoor scenery.

Ketchikan today, Victoria, BC, tomorrow, the final TT and home port in Seattle on Monday morning. It has been fun, the time has literally flown by and we are all richer for the experience.

A few pix from Juneau and Sitka. Will shoot for one more post prior to home port. Out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Klondike





I have been off-course in races a few times. Done enough Adventure Racing to know the value of GPS. I have worked for he DoD in places known as remote and isolated. The term middle of nowhere has special meaning to me. They are all special as is the Lennon-McCartney lyric, "Oh that magic feeling, nowhere to go."

It is especially ironic then, that today, our third day at sea, we will be heading into Glacier Bay, Alaska, on Cinco de Mayo. I guess that shouldn't be so odd, after all, I was once the only English speaking American in Italy sitting zazen with a French guru. I guess that was multi-cultural enough for a while.

Monday's departure from Seattle was relatively painless, mostly due to the supervision and consulting of Ken Devones from Holland America. Ken expertly guided us through the myriad procedural logistics and pointed me in the short cut and proper directions so that I, in turn could do similar to the rest of the group. Once aboard we went through the "where's me stuff" routine as our baggage was delivered in three stages, along with the bikes and CompuTrainer gear. To say that I was packing heavy is like saying the an elephant is big.

We finally got settled into our stateroom and headed up to the luxurious and swanky La Fountain Restaurant for the CompuTrainer Cruise meet and greet dinner.

After that it got a little rough. As in high seas and the ms Amsterdam getting tossed about in the Pacific like a dinghy in a hot tub. No sleep rock and hang on to your hat roll. All night long. I am not a sailor. I have no sea legs. A land-lubber by both DNA and design. When 0500 dawned with steel-grey showers I was grateful for the opportunity to test my resolve and get moving. Oooops THAT doesn't work I thought bouncing off the narrow walls of the Dolphin Deck corridor en route to the first 20 mile time trial of the day in the fitness center.

It was a long day, but everyone got in their sessions with several dramatic displays of bravery and courage. I trust by now you understand what I mean by that. The added dynamic of a rolling and pitching ship along with a 20 mile very demanding time trial indoors on the CT looking out the bow window into the cold grey Pacific was a unique test of strength and focus. A combination we will long remember and I hope appreciate.

Which is exactly why we came. Here. North to Alaska. On Cinco de Mayo.

Pix:
Katie finds a clever way to get in another spin
Melinda does her initial 20 mile TT on Tuesday
A classic Vivaldi greeting
THE ms Amsterdam in Seattle's Pier 91 Monday