Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lake Stevens Recon Report

Recon debrief: The new Lake Stevens 70.3 one-loop course is a killer. As many of you know, since its inception into the 70.3 family, it has been a two-loop bike leg. And those two laps around Snohomish County were relentless in their rolliness. While I am not 100% sure that rolliness is a word, I AM 100% sure they presented a race day challenge not soon forgotten. I am also sure you know what I mean when I invoke that word (or non-word.) Not quite climbs, and no signature grades but a constant laughing roller-coaster with a few screaming technical descents and the always present and irritated locals to make it interesting. You need to keep your eyes open (and ears closed.) That was then.

This is now: More rolliness up to Granite Falls and down to (almost) Monroe. The popcorn machine is back in vogue. Up ya go, down ya fall, repeat for 56 miles. Everyone on this planet knows I prefer a one-loop course to two or, gasp, three, and this one is no exception. For the first thirty miles of our drizzled-out scouting ride this morning I was thinking, "I like the change," but by mile forty it was more, "I think I like the change," and by fifty, "The old course was fine." By the time we circumnavigated 60 miles (we went off course once) I was ready for blueberry pancakes. A double-tall stack, with extra compote, please.

The intel take-away: With a puny thirteen days prior to dance day, there isn't too much positive you can do to prepare for this somewhat intimidating scenario. Either you can climb TODAY, or you can't. Adding a two week hammer fest will only give you tired legs come 8.14. But what you CAN do is this:

1) Make sure you have a solid nutrition plan in place.

2) Take the first twenty miles a touch slower than what you feel you could do.

3) Keep a steady and efficient HR.

4) Hydrate often in addition to your electrolyte replacement beverage.

5) Pay attention and keep a vigilant focus.

6) Make sure your bike is in PERFECT condition prior to racking it Saturday night.

7) Pick and choose your hammer spots and race your strength.

8) Make sure you leave enough in the tank for a snappy 13.1.

There is eight you can add to the constants of racing happy and carpe diem. I trust that whatever contractor is repairing the washout pictured above on the Robe Menzel Rd near G. Falls gets it done by race day, otherwise we'll be doing a little early season cross. (Or going back to the old course.)

It was a great training ride, Bob is in outstanding shape and riding RSVP next week as his final tune up. Race day should be an interesting test. Hope we get some sun to go with all that rolliness.

Pix: Bob and Phoenix Red at the giant hole in the road. Afterwards it appeared that not even IHOP blueberry pancakes could fill that hole.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Cap is ON

OK, this is a tough one. I struggle with it. Always have. It is like a never ending bad hair day. Let's explore.

This morning after class I was read my Miranda rights and charged with violating Section 12 of the code of social propriety. Seems I had committed a class three misdemeanor by (and I'll quote the letter of the law), "failing to provide proper acknowledgement of a genuine compliment."

You had better appoint me an attorney because I am going to need one, or ten. Guilty as charged. There will be nolo contendre with this mens rea. Fact is, this is not my first offense. I am a habitual offender. I do not accept compliments gracefully.

When asked about it, I redirected the conversation like any good politician, and ended up back at nowhere. Here are a few of the highlights:

Because I am not perfect, or even good, I should stay humble and hungry.

Because I truly want to get better and realize I can give more.

Because I have many flaws.

Because I use unconventional methods and tactics.

Because I fail more often that I win.

Because I make mistakes, err, cause problems, sin.

Because I am weak.

And not because I am insincere, insecure, egotistical, manipulating or embarrassed.

And not because I do not value your opinion.

And not because I feel unworthy.

And not because I never received sufficient praise as an adolescent.

Many times I feel that the compliments aren't for the right reasons, and therefore try to correct the thought without losing the underlying emotion. Mostly I fail at this.

That was great.

Yes, but we have a long way to go.

Killer workout.

Coulda been more killer with more focus.

Rockin set list today.

Almost nailed it. Did you listen to the Tom Waits tune?

Nice race.

I sucked in transition.

Who cuts your hair?

I do, thanks.

With the last one we come full circle. The question was not meant as a compliment but, rather as a jab, the proverbial and sarcastic right hook, if you will. Yet I answered it with the proper response.

Life can come at ya pretty quick sometimes. Differentiating between a sincere compliment and a passing quirky remark is a skill.

I suppose as I try to get better at it I'll keep my cap on.

Oh, and THANKS.

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Dawg is In!

OK, I'm in. Charged the $285 (I hate passionately) to my Visa (not real fond of THEM either), and officially entered the 2011 Lake Stevens 70.3 (LOVE that distance).

This partially due to the fact that my groveling for support turned up a couple of takers. It was most likely because they simply wanted me to stop my pathetic on-line panhandling and get back to work on important stuff like training for the big event.

Regardless of the methodology, we now have gas money and a C-note saying we won't win AG. YES!

PEOPLE OF Z UNIVERSE: PLEASE BET AGAINST ME! Please, please, please (ooops, back to that) put up $100 that says: You can't do it Fido. No-way you can win your age group in a Worlds Qualifier. Competition is too stiff and you are too slow. Heck, in less than three weeks you will be out of THAT group and into the Super Geezer group anyway, no chance, these guys are ruthless vigilantes and will cut you to shreds. Then laugh about it.

The horror.

But I am saying I will. And now with all this pressure, I must. I love being the underdog. If I had a GF I sure she would be saying "I'm with you (dear), you can do it, just stop being such a sniveling puppy, man up and get after it big dog." Or something to that effect (and btw that is a BIG if)

So here we are. Fifteen training days and a cup of coffee out. The patented (pending) RCVman Insto-schedule looks like this:

7.30 - 90 min spin>Recovery run

7.31 - Ride (new) course 56 miles

8.1 - Spin > RR

8.2 - Yoga>Swim

8.3 - Spin > Tempo Run

8.4 - Yoga>Swim

8.5 - OFF

8.6 - Spin > RR

8.7 - Long brick

8.8 - Spin > RR

8.9 - Yoga>Swim>10 Mile run

8.10 - Spin> RR (start high GI carb load)

8.11 - Yoga>Swim>Speed bike

8.12 - Off

8.13 - Easy and early Brick

8.14 - RACE (Goal is 5:17, three minutes faster than Chelan and a minute faster than the winning 2010 time)

I'm in. You can provide me with some serious mojo by hitting the 'post a comment' tab below and placing $100 on any other dog in this race. If this dog wins, you owe. If he don't IOU.

Please be warned however, I am better at snarl than snivel, more, I fully plan on proving it come 8.14 (and Sark might be watching as in pic)

We wag, we bark and we bite.

Are YOU in?

Answer is

Answer to Wednesday's "Who Am I" post, is (drum roll please):

Your Training Partner.

Crucial, vital, priceless all at once. This person (fully actualized and God-like as several of the guessers suggested) accepts the awesome responsibility of keeping the fire burning. Once this is established there is no hiding, no whining, no shortcuts, no wimp-outs and no excuses. Quitting is not an option.

There is work. There is sweat. Then there is growth and lastly, a series of personal victories. Your training partner is entrusted with all this. He or she keeps you honest in ways that would make Republican Congressmen look like choirboys. He or she holds you to a higher standard. He or she pushes you towards excellence, or, as we used to hear from the Navy brass, continual improvement. He or she wants you to become an army of one, one of the proud, one of the few. Into the wild blue yonder, near the shores of Tripoli. Life, liberty and the relentless pursuit of those things that enhance it. Your training partner wants only your transformative enlightenment, your motivational awareness, and your deep satisfaction in knowing that you are all you can be. One workout at a time.

Your training partner might have been a recruiter (or successful ad man) in another lifetime. Please find yours today.

Thanks for all the darts tossed in the general direction of the "Who Am I" bulls eye. That was fun and we will do it again. Meanwhile……

It seems that there are no gamblers among the RCVman VBA, so my Lake Stevens entry fee remains at an unbudgeted $250. On this one I believe I will evoke the RCVman 14th amendment: Do not allow money to stand between you and fun.

Pic: This mornings fun was a run/bike/run brick and transition practice, featuring (l2r) RCVman, Sean, Chris, Stephanie (who took the overall win) and Jimmy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Suffering at 2:1

Try following your highest impulse. Your mind rarely

invites you to explore things that are worthless -- and

your soul never does. Donald Neal Walsch.

Investing in self. Big concept. Investing in our health. Big value.

I am struggling with the opportunity to go up and race in Lake Stevens in two weeks. It is a course I know well, a 70.3 World Championship qualifier and the talented athlete who won our AG last year is both a old friend, read: arch rival, and two minutes faster than me. Kinda has it all: Challenge, opportunity, drama, dangling carrot, the thrill of the hunt.

Only downside is the $250 entry fee, along with another $325 payable immediately upon qualification to the Worlds in LV on 9.11, meaning I could drop a grand (travel expenses included) for two races. Worth it?

I should do it? I am on a minor roll. For the first time in my twenty-five years of racing I am BELOW racing weight. My fitness is peaking again, rising like a buttery new summer moon.

I even devised a clever wagering system to try to lessen the financial impact with the inducement that if I do anything OTHER THAN WIN, you hit pay dirt. At 2-1 odds no less. I will bet on me to win AG. For ten bucks if I do NOT win, you do, and pocket twenty. I think even Jimmy the Greek (or Henry the Bookie) would appreciate them odds.

That would certainly dial up the intensity factor. Could I, under this excruciatingly heavy mental albatross, stay within myself on race day and keep from trying too hard and blowing up?

Or should I just ante up (not eat for a week), enjoy the experience and take what comes? The old grin and beer it.

In the above quoted article from Donald Neal Walsch (quoting Brian Tracey) says the idea is to take 3% of your income and put it back into yourself, investing in your future. He opens by saying you may think that right now you can't afford this, and closes by saying that it is more likely that you can't afford not to. Investing in self.

I win, you helped. I finish second (or last) you win. At two to one.

I am not sure this is what they had in mind, but if I take the lesser road and DON'T race, nobody wins. That is my highest impulse today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who Am I?

Who am I?

Somebody I trust completely.

Somebody who pushes me.

Somebody who respects me for who I am today.

Somebody who answers every call.

Somebody who can be objective, calm and reasonable, when I can't (or won't)

Somebody who supports me because I am weak.

Somebody who listens to my silly stories, laughs at my bad jokes.

Somebody who wants what I want.

Someone who is unpatronizing.

Someone who will meet me at 0430 to spin or 1800 to run.

Somebody fearless.

Somebody who understands the interconnectivity of all things.

Somebody who will put up with the quirkiness of my neurosis.

Somebody who will be there NO MATTER WHAT.

Somebody who will go long, go hard and go often.

Somebody who only complains when absolutely necessary (as last resort).

Somebody responsible.

Somebody cheerful.

Somebody happy.

Somebody who transmits a powerful, pure, positive energy vibe.

Somebody who holds the mirror for me.

A sounding board.

A friend.

A cohort.

A role model.

A teacher, mentor, sage, shaman, saint.

To this childish, uneducated, dense, civilian sinner.

Someone who will tell me when I am wrong, out of line or mistaken.

Someone who thinks there is no drudge in drudgery, no bore in boredom and no mun in mundane.

Someone who can keep things in perspective.

Someone who will remind me that this, in the bigger picture, is peanuts.

Someone to hold my hand.

Someone who has my back.

Someone who will kick my ass (when necessary)

Someone I can confide in.

Someone I would never lie to.

Someone who hears the solid meaning thru the hallow rhetoric.

Someone with whom I can celebrate the losses and critique the victories.

Someone sincere.

Someone honest.

Someone bold.

Someone brave.

Someone who can show me courage under fire.

Someone I can be all of the above to.


Who am I?

(Hint: I am not a dog, a spouse or a pet rock. I am not a politician, a counselor or a movie star.)

Pic is from a 5K run sponsored by the (RIP) Gym at the Pavilion, circa 2005 and contains all the visual hints necessary to identify me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not Today

I am running in the park. My left side, as usual, is the last to loosen from this morning's high intensity spin session. It is a Monday afternoon at 4:30 and raining. It is July 25, 2011. I run on a mission.

I have got to find out what the hell is going on with my poor body. After shower this morning I was at 152 pounds, down 18 from a year ago. My energy remains good, power evident. My mood is stable, cravings under control. Could it be the chia seeds? The Yoga with weights? The low GI diet? Or simply the consistent schedule I have been able to maintain for the last, what, ten months?

I dunno. I am not a scientist. I know what works for me and I know what my body responds to. And it is responding to this. Work. Effort. Intensity. Movement. Usually at about this point, something breaks down, a compensational injury flares, my body demonstrates the weak link theory. Or we run outta fumes.

I know about the wall. I have hit it with velocity that could split an atom. I am familiar with the bonk. Its good side is that the bonk is WAY cheaper than the bong and oddly provides a somewhat similar effect. Lights G-O-I-N-G out. I am experienced in the ways of the fail. The epic fail. The agony without a shred of ecstasy. The fall down flat on your face and hope no one is watching fail. Today there is no wall, no bonk and no fail. This is all good. If endurance, stamina and longevity is the goal, I seem to be winning.

But this is different. It stays here, not fleeting, no flash-in-pan. I am piling success upon success like building a giant pastrami sandwich (on rye with Grey Poupon and a dill on the side.) Those of you who have visited the Carnegie Deli in New York (Midtown at 7th & 55th), know of what I speak.

No hamstring pulls, no tweaked ankles, no piriformis flareups, no URIs and nary a outward sign of, gasp, overtraining syndrome. It is not a curve, bell shaped or otherwise, but a continuous line heading towards what I can only hope is some kind of promised land. I will NOT sabotage it with stinking-thinking suggesting I don't deserve it, either. I just can't get a handle on specifically WHAT is behind all this positivity. And I am kinda worried. More concerned and curious actually.

This is not a complaint. I am very, VERY happy. I feel great. I wish there was another race this weekend so I could again cut it loose and run with the big dogs. This mutt has always liked running with the best-of show.

There is some seriously cool stuff happing in my life right now and I am immensely enjoying the flow. I look forward to getting out of bed at 0430 every day to begin it with high energy group exercise. And then ramping it up from there in a gleeful attack on normality. I balance and barter as best I can. There are trade-outs for this, sacrifice is necessary. I live alone. My castle, my rules. And they're aren't many. Happiness, non-conformance and freedom are important to me. As is talking care of mind, body and spirit. There is no TV, no meat and little hypocrisy. There is no white picket fence. I choose to build a pizza oven than fix my leaky roof. My bike is worth more than my car. I play my music loud and wash dishes by hand. All this by design.

I am running in the park. I pass someone who years ago used to jog. He is walking now, wearing faded jeans that show the loss of muscle mass in his glutes and core. He looks like he is just out of the hospital for prostate surgery and taking a first few steps back down the road to recovery. A deep wave of empathy washes over me as a thought pops to life:

One day you will be walking like this too, no longer able to run as you so proudly proclaim to do right now. And then, almost immediately in debate, I hear a voice, eerily like that of William Wallace, cry,


Pic: The final Ironman leg down Alii Dr. in Kona. Training is Today.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another present

I did it again. Just tripped into another gumption trap. Here is what happened:

I am "researching" Robert Pirsig, JJ Gibbs, Plato, Suzanne Nowlis, Cadel Evans. Looking for clues. Commonalities that connect them, bind them, unite them. A theme. A thought. A passion. This interests me greatly and I type amazed that I have the collected knowledge of civilization at my fingertips.

After a rare spectacular summer day it is now raining hard outside my window, the smells of the forest, released by rain, is clean, fresh, the odor of green. It almost always reminds me of hope. Like sitting atop Big Sur at dawn gazing through the lifting fog (North) at the diffused road ahead.

I look at my watch. It is almost nine. Oh, no, my internal supervisor wails, getting late, back to work, there is lot's to do.


Gumption trapped again. Time/Place dissonance. I need to reprimand myself from inquiring into the metaphysics of quality in order to do what exactly?

Make (perhaps for once) a non-pity blog entry

Follow up with e-mails

Make some sales calls

Grout marble tiles in the new privy

Take Trixie's axle to Gabe for the wheel rebuild

Do some maintenance work on the new site

Drop of first/last check at the club

Restock the fridge with Session Black

Push Michelle's video

Write copy for September newsletter

Create design for new jerseys

Get in a recovery run at 5


Finish the Gladwell book


The trap is that I can only do one of those at a time, and anything that takes me out of the focus of my present moment activity is a deterrent to the quality of that act.

It applies to everything. Washing dishes to time trialing. Reading to racing. Eating to, ahem, the disposal of its by-products (see above grout line item.)

When we spin, that is all we do. I am not indulging in a dream about how fast I rode (or didn't ride) in my last race. I am not fantasizing about being draped in a gold jersey on a giant stage, holding a bouquet of flowers as French models kiss my cheeks. I am concentrating on every pedal rotation, every heart beat and every contraction of every muscle. I am centered on a balanced core. I hear the music as well as my breaths. I am alive. I am that. Simply spinning.

OK, I suppose I should wrap this up so I can get back to work. (Sorry, that was a test.) In closing,

The past we use for review. The future for planning. The value is in the now.

And here it is. Another present (with thanks to all of the above for their ceaseless inspiration.)

From Plato to Cadel, it's all about now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Almost Always a Great Notion

After this morning's rocking 90 minute session (where I got barked at AGAIN) this time for music too loud (?), me and Frankie sharpened the axes and headed out for some splittin' and stackin'. We both agreed that last year we were negligent and it cost us in both warmth and money. THAT we will not sit idly by and allow to happen again!

Tomorrow is a ride/swim/ride. 30/1000/30/. Depart from Duck Pond at 1300. Or you can split a cord of wood. Never give an inch.

BPP>Wildcat Lake>BPP

I know it's late but it appears as if the weather will be GREAT tomorrow and I am not about to miss even ten minutes of sun the remainder of this summer. So here is tomorrow's ride/swim/ride brick:

30 out to Wildcat Lake (Tri-Babes report here) from duck pond at Battle Point Park

Swim 1000 open water meters

30 back to Battle Point Park

We leave at 1300

If we get enough takers transportation for swim gear will be arranged, if not it's on your back.

Please use 'post a comment' button below. And have yourself a great day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gimee 50

Another ride in the books. Yesterday's 70 miler saw a touch of everything, rain, wind, cloud-cover and even a dollop of blue at the finish. Nine hardy souls traversed the out and back from the BAC to Quilcene with only a thrown chain as mechanical. No blood, no bruises, no flats, no bonking.

I did get barked at on several occasions for trying to maintain momentum, but that is a scenario I am pretty well conditioned to. Comes with the territory I suppose. If ya wanna push you gotta expect some shove. Because here is what I am after, for myself and those that I train, ride and race with:








Further, if these result in a higher QOL, enhanced self esteem, optimal health and fitness, thankfulness and appreciation, intrepid pursuit of adventure and experience, I think we have accomplished something of which to be proud. I am proud of

you already, I simply want your best. And I want it often and always. And that includes now.


Those qualities are not found by making excuses, hiding, looking for shortcuts, or taking the easy way out (in any occasion or circumstance).

If your goals contain any (or all) of the above, we'll get along fine. I understand that old habits are hard to break. I completely realize that I am dealing with adults, professionals and very successful people. I do not mean to disparage, belittle, insult or annoy. If that is how I come across, my deepest apologies. I try to make it fun.

I want to make you better (see above list) and these are the methodologies I have found that work best for me. I have tried others. When it comes to training, I am afraid I will forever be the drill sergeant. It's not for everybody. Oddly, it is not everybody I am after, it is YOU.

For those rare individuals wondering where to find the next level, what it looks like, feels like and tastes like, this is that path. The compass is pointing up. Onward. Sometimes brusquely. But always with your deepest goals in mind, at heart, on demand.

Humbly submitted, with respect, with gratitude. In joy.

Now drop and gimme fifty.

Pix: The Nine (l2r): Claudia, Kiko, Harv, Sgt. Carter, 8trk, Stephanie, Susan, Pam, Mimi. Big thanks to Sara (Bug) for her impeccable SAG performance. Bravo. Bucolic Quilcene, WA as the turn point.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have a dear triathlon friend whom I haven't seen in a few years. Last time was on the descent from top of Mt. Baker. I was filming, stopped on the scooter to take a couple of stills with Artist's Point in the background. One of those serenely spectacular moments. At maybe 40mph Suzanne has the cycling presence to: A) See me, B) ID me as me, C) Come to a safe stop and say hello. Classy.

We raced together for many years, testing our IM training in CdA, Penticton as well as shorter venues such as the ill-fated Kingfisher, Lake Stevens, Pacific Crest, Black Diamond, and of course, Elma. We even roomed in Kona one year, she competing, me filming. She raced smiling before Natasha Badman and Chrissy Wellington popularized it. You build deep friendships with the passage of time and space. One year, might have been 2001, I flew in from the Indian Ocean and we hooked up in Penticton at the race brief the day before IMC. We were getting caught up when I noticed about a roll and a half of duct tape wrapped around her left foot.

What is THAT?

I broke two toes swimming this week.

And you wrapped them in duct tape and are going to race tomorrow?


Duct tape?

It's more slippery than regular tape so it might help my swim.


I remember one year she did five Ironmans in one season, including New Zealand, Canada, and Kona. The gal can go.

Saturday in Chelan I saw a mutual friend (who just happens to be in my age group) and I inquired abut her. Did she get married? (even though I knew she had) Move to Poulsbo? Still racing? Still smiling?

Stuart kinda laughed, I think because he knew I would appreciate what he was about to say, but it none-the-less caught me by surprise. Sorta.

Next week we are crewing for her on the Race Across Oregon, he announced. She also did UltraMan Canada last year. So yeah, she is still racing (and married and smiling).

OMG, I blurted. RAO is what, 520 miles and you have 48 hours to ride it?


I shake my head with humility and awe. It just took me 5 hours and 20 minutes to go 70.3 miles and she is doing 520 miles in 48. My swim cap is doffed.

But I will tell you this: If anyone I have ever trained with, rode with or competed against can do it, and do it well, Suzanne can.

Go get 'em Lady, you seriously rock.

More info on Race Across Oregon here.

Video of new Look/Polar power system. This might change things some.

We are heading out in an hour for our 70 miles out and back to Quilcene. Drizzle is clearing (somewhat) and we have assembled a nice crew. Pix later tonight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Officially Official

LAST CHANCE BIKE ROMANCE. if you haven't already made your commitment to tomorrow's ride to Quilcene, this is it. Your last chance. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the 'post a comment' tab. A new page will open and you can respond anyway you like. Please note, however, that we do not respond back to anonymous posts.

Our ride tomorrow departs at 1000 from the Bainbridge Athletic Club. We will have vehicular support for the 35 out miles as well as the 35 back miles. Ten dollars gets you all this. This is not a race, there are no awards for speed. Endurance counts, as does attitude. It may rain. We don't care. It is summer and we will ride. The beauty of the SAG wagon is that if you bonk, bend or bruise, you simply rack and pack. Rack your bike and pack your bones in the truck. No shame, no blame. 70 miles of smiles. An entry I once made at a cafe somewhere to the left of nowhere during a month long ride, now seems appropriate, "The quality of your sunset is determined by your attitude on the uphill grade.", or as Neal Donald Walsch says, "Your growth starts at the end of your comfort zone."

Speaking of the BAC, we are now officially partners. The RCVman is opening a three person CompuTrainer Multi-Rider center in the club with Grand Opening slated for 1 September. I was in contact with Simon Ward, aka, The Triathlon Coach yesterday and we pretty much agreed that a Bainbridge Island versus Leeds inaugural team time trial would be just the ticket for opening festivities. This is going to be a true test for us because Simon is one of the very best coaches on either, or any, isle and produces some blazing fast athletes. This, of course, is exactly what makes it fun. The bloody competition. Soon after that we'll invite our reps in Australia, Canada, Norway, South Africa, France, Japan and maybe even California to compete with us. Sound like fun?

Lastly today, I am SERIOUSLY looking for some help in the form of motivation. I need a couple of local training partners for the 2012 Ironman Arizona. It will be in November of next year, and my goal is to qualify for Kona of 2013. This is a HUGE commitment and takes special planning and circumstance to properly execute. That is why I bring it up here today, with merely 489 training days between now and then.

We'll do 70 tomorrow, that's a start.

Pic: The official partnership incorporation document in contractual form is signed ceremoniously by the COB, RCVman. The first order of duty was to make coffee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

C-Man Video

Here is five minutes worth of highlights from the weekend's fun out in Chelan. Further info, and signups for the 2012 events can be found at You can always look at other race and training videos at the RCVman YouTube site. Depending on your browser, click on the YouTube logo on the bottom bar and you will be directed (automatically) to YouTube where you can view any of the 159 videos now available in 16:9 HD. A few are kinda even OK.

UPDATE duJour: We are filling up quickly for Thursday's big ride to Quilcene. It is 70 miles out and back with a 1000 departure time from the Bainbridge Athletic Club. The ride is supported with the price of admission a paltry $10 (gas and goodies). YOU should do this. YOU should tell your friends, and YOU should join us.

What have YOU got to lose?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Three Parts?

It is supposed to have three parts. A beginning, a middle and an end. This is taught as the acceptable format with which to tell a story. You start somewhere, add drama and conflict, build characters, come to a dramatic conclusion. There is the boy meets girl angle, the rite of passage story, the underdog taking on evil approach, the fish out of water allegory, and of course Hollywood's latest cash cow, the blockbuster superhero franchise. A story in three parts.

All making triathlon the perfect narrative template. Swim, bike, run.

Been there, reported that. Adjectives shouldn't masquerade as verbs. And verbs are where the actions is. Think what you will, see what you want and feel what you have, but the second you start TO MOVE, the magic begins, and the story unfolds.

I raise my right arm to take the first stroke of the day. Immediately I am painfully reminded of the tendinitis in my elbow. One stroke and reality joins the fray. Great. The water is 68 degrees, clear and calm. My mission for the 1,900 meters is to relax, take long slow, efficient strokes and conserve energy in order to unleash it in the saddle and on the run. This has been my racing strategy since 1995. Sometimes it works, other times, not. Today, however I am in the midst of another exciting training and testing experiment and there are some differences. We have added some tweaks, made some changes, dialed it up.

Fill a backpack with a dozen pounds of cantaloupe. Put the backpack on and go swim, bike and run. I can guarantee they will soon be catapulting cantaloupes as you try (too late) to lighten your load. That, dear friends, is why we train. Lose the fat, gain some muscle. Power to weight. I dropped 12 pounds of fat since I last raced the 70.3 distance a year ago. Power to weight ratio improved. Tweak One: Race lighter and stronger. My right arm is now twitching from nerve irritation and inflammation, feeling like a wood paddle, plus I am cramping from left hip to calf. We still have 500 meters till the big red buoy and swim finish. What was once calm is now concern. I can see rocks, sand, algae and shadows from the scattered clouds overhead. It hurts, but this space is comfortable. I glide through it. I am mentally preparing for transition and the next assignment. The fish is out of water and there are girls to meet, dragons to slay.

Tweak Two. Nutrition. Big deal for a sprint? Not really. For a half-iron? Crucial. We tested First Endurance Nutrition on Saturday. I took on 700 calories and electrolytes in two 12 OZ water bottles on the bike and another 400 as EFS on the run. 1,200 calories and plenty of electro replacements. I am riding Phoenix Red for the first time in race conditions. She seems delighted to be with me today. We are joined at the pedal. It is a dance of love. It is innocent and pure. We go. We go hard. We are laughing, happy to be alive and wanting nothing from the day other than our all. We will get there or forever live with the nightmare that we missed our one opportunity to do this today at red line. We may never be here again. Wet wind whistles past. The road is slick, shiny with rain. We don't care. It is the same for everybody and our skills are good, tires, fair. We climb. We scream through the tunnel, get sucked by a fifth wheel at 50 mph, then start the signature attack through Navarre Coulee canyon. It is to be here, or never, I ask for more. She responds like a lover. We can do this, I whisper. Shhhhh she says, just ride, don't say a word, I am here with you, seize the mountain.

It is a fast 56. Almost too fast. As much as my back needs some stretching, another 56 to make it an IM would be do-able today. Nice work crimson lady, let's do it again, soon. PR is racked and the true test begins. How will all this tweakage manifest on the run? 13.1 miles. Will she blow? Loose a fuse? Bonk? Will I succumb to the ultimate right hook of reality and finish my day walking in like a drunken sailor from shore leave? Funny thing, I feel great. We begin. I feel light, strong confident, running upright and with a controlled heart rate. By mile nine, an interesting thought appears: Maybe all this time what you attributed to muscular fatigue was actually the ugly condition of dehydration and under nourishment. (You mean it took me 25 years to figure this out?) Very few times in a half-iron have I laughed out loud at mile ten, but today I do, realizing that all this change has provided substantial gain. I am the fool giggling at himself from the reflection off the water. Silly boy, you had it all along, it was always here. This. Now. Mile eleven and I am doing the math again. There is no way I am going to run back to back five minute miles and go 5:10.

So what, I say aloud. The lessons of this day will be here forever. It was a great effort, noble even. Bow as we pass, Don Quixote. We got to race, to mix it up, get out of the complacent comfort zone and see how long we could take it. There was a test. We got some important answers. There was meaning. Value. Reward. Mile 12 and the finish is in sight. Cheering, laughter and applause all bouncing off the water. I hurt. There is pain. My performs is on fire and the blister on left foot is raw. My legs are tired, I take quicker steps as breaths deepen. To my left I see the floating red turn buoy, to my right a biker is just now returning from her ride. I am so happy to be alive. Moving.

I search for the perfect adjective to modify, but find none.

Finish. Strong. Always.

5:21, 20th overall. AG win. The story is just beginning.

Pic: Is the swim part one, the start, or something else, maybe bigger?

Some video tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chelanman results

Just back from another exciting weekend of racing and camping fun. As I am in dire need of a sound night's sleep, this is nothing but an update, with the full race report, takeaways and lessons learns all scheduled for tomorrow's post, targeted for sometime soon after spin class.

As you know I was shooting for a 5:10. Based upon last years results that would have provided a top ten and AG win. Bigger than that was the personal test of current power to weight, a test of a totally new nutrition strategy and carrying 12 less pounds over the course of 70.3 miles than 12 months ago. There is the outline and structured protocol.

Results: I did a 5:20, ten minutes off goal. Still good enough for an Age Group win, but a not-so-spectacular 20th overall. Undaunted, I sit and sip a Guinness and think, that a 43 minute gain over prior year is, well, something.

What IS something was Stephanie's masterful virgin triathlon performance and silver medal age group time of 1:36. Taking a second place podium spot in your first tri is like winning an Oscar in your first film.

We brought home some hardware and had a great time doing it. There is more work to be done. More lessons to learn, more speed to develop and more strength to build.

We'll take them one day at a time. Tomorrow, 0530, full spin ahead.

Pix: One of the wonderful things about our sport is its community. Here is Coeur d'Alene AG winner Lisa Walker, the RCVman and multi-time IM finisher and record holder Sister Madona Buder before Saturday's event. Stephanie is all smiles after her trip to the podium to accept her award for a snappy (and happy) 1:36.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The old is new again

Here is a little piece I cut up over the last few days for the RD at Big Blue Adventures. That was stop two on a west coast tour last year that also included Reno and San Diego. Back in the era when I had a travel budget and a company credit card. The good old days. I think you can see from the video that Tahoe is absolutely spectacular and made for outdoor sports. I highly recommend the Big Blue events, a low-key, high-energy combination of affordable fun. But that was then.

Today is getaway day for Chelanman. I am tackling the 1/2 Iron distance which gets underway at 0700 on the marrow. And because this represents such a magical merging of the old and new (also known as the now), I am borrowing a play from several of my pals playbooks to, well, stir it up a touch. So here is the RCVman DEAL duJOUR:

GUESS MY TIME TOMORROW AND WIN AN OFFICIAL RACE T-SHIRT!!!!! VBAer picking time closest to actual, official RCVman finish time is winner of said garment.

Maybe even mine, maybe even autographed, maybe even signed by the overall male and female champions!!!! Could one day be a serious collectors item!

In case you are NOT an avid follower of the half-ironman circuit, here are some guidelines to assist you in your time picking decision:

2010 National Champion Michael Raelert, GER, 3:41:19

Chelanman Course Record, Michael Gordon, SEA, WA, USA, 4:27:25

RCVman PR, 4:48:12 (1998)

RCVman at Boise 70.3 2010: 6:04

RCVman goal tomorrow: 5:10

Your guess is as good as mine.

One entry per household, void where prohibited, certain restrictions may apply, must be eighteen or over to participate, non-trasnsferrable, all decisions of the judges are final. Use post a comment tab below to enter. If I go 5:10:00 I am keeping the shirt, a disclaimer in fine print so old it's new again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

HC Gear

Hors Categorie climbs, or HC, are stage climbs that are so tough, steep and/or relentless that they have no classification. The fun begins.

We are a thousand clicks from The Pyrenees, but prepping for a another stage none-the-less. Tomorrow is getaway day. We head over the big hill and into Central Washington for the Chelanman Triathlon. Weather is calling for about 80 degrees with a 40% chance of some light drizz, OK in my book.

Being prepared is half the battle. We have worked hard. We have dedicated ourselves to getting fitter and faster. We have cross-trained, run hills, taken it to max, flexed into warrior three, roamed with the fuller and rested like Mr.Van Winkle. We visited chiropractors, massage therapists, PTs, coaches, consultants and mixologists. It has been a grand journey. And now it's time to pack, taper, enjoy some decadent high carb meals and head out.

We are ready. Bring it. The bringing for the RCVman consists of three parts.

Part One is tri gear:

DeSoto suit. Blue Seventy goggles. Helmet, shoes, dewrag, shades. K-Swiss shoes, EFS nutrition. (Respect is not pictured)

Part Two is camping gear:

Tent, bag, tarp, pad(s), thermos and Swiss Army Knife. (Gratitude not pictured)

Part Three is film gear:

IPad, Canon, two GoPros, NIkon, Garmin 305, Sony HDR7

and miscellaneous tape, batts, cards, mounts, cables and cases. (Here and Now not pictured)

There, of course, is a part five (clothes) and part six (tools), and part seven, food (perhaps more on that later) but those are easy.

Unlike an HC. (not pictured)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Step One

“Just lace up and get out the door. And smile.” From Zen Habits.

From today's mail cache:

How do I get motivated?


How do I stay motivated?


How do I achieve my objectives?


How do I win?


Hate to say it folks, but it all renders down to those four facts. From fixing the leaky faucet to hitting the finish line at an Ironman, the formula is the same; Take the first step, keep going and don't stop.

The relativity separating the top from bottom, front to rear or pro from amateur is the only difference. Pros go faster, champions train harder and winners persevere. All took an initial step out the door, laced 'em up and forced a first foot strike on the journey of a thousand. Then they did it again. And again. Until it became habitual. As in every day. They were not deterred by ANYTHING, not wind, not rain, not snow (see photo), not heat, not ridicule, not pain, not fatigue. They did not stop.

Need to lose twenty pounds?


Want to tone up?


Looking for change?


Have the need for speed?


Wanna win?

Keep going.

Big dreams, grandiose goals, Ironman, Marathon, Optimal QOL?

Don't stop.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Above is the route for next Thursday's supported 70 mile ride. Out and back from the BAC to Quilcene. We'll have support and sunshine. Cost is $10 per person to cover gas and goodies. Please RSVP (the respond-not the ride) by using the comments tab below. We'll leave the club at 1000.

We have one spot remaining for this weekends epic trip to Chelan. So far Stephanie and myself are racing (she on Sunday, me on Saturday) and Steve is supporting and maybe golfing. There are still spots open for the runs, but the tris are closed. If you wanna come over and camp with us and get in some swims, runs, rides or holes, hit the comments tab. We're talking frugal fun here, or was that yesterday?

I have just come up with the grand opening celebration promotion package for the initial run of pizzas from the new outdoor oven. Seems as I totally missed the 4th of July, we'll now set sights on my birthday, August 31. For the past few years I have been doing some type of wacko endurance thing that natal day, so this year we'll try this: I am going to ride Chilly Hilly four times. My PR is three, done on that day two years ago and this year we'll stretch it out by 33 miles and see what type of an appetite that produces. Here is the fun part: YOU are invited!!! Simply ride your bike for a CH lap (or two) and swing by the cabin afterwards for some tantalizing fresh, local, organic pizza and a glass of local vin. For those of you that don't know, it's on the CH course across from the duck pond at Battle Point Park, making it easy. Just follow your nose. EDITORS NOTE: I just checked the calendar and 8.31.11 is a Wednesday. There is NO WAY I am going to spin and then ride a CH Quad. NO WAY. So the ride/eat du will be on Sunday, August 28. Fixed that for ya!

All for today. Great yoga and swim sessions this morning. We'll recover and cruise a recovery run at five. One more day to peak, start loading with high glycemic carbs and get in a little taper. Life is good.