Archive for October, 2010

Where’s My Hat?

Posted: October 30, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

A couple of seasons ago, I had a S W E E T deal with Under Armour.  As part of this sponsorship, every week was Christmas when the UPS man delivered some seriously new schwag.

My youngest son, mystified by why any sensible major corporation would sponsor me, wanted my Under Armour beanie and would not let it go.  He pestered me to give it to him for weeks.

He had spent the usual kid summer time at the pool.  There was no real swimming involved.  Determined to entice him to triathlon, I would occasionally challenge him to a swim race with a huge head start.  Over the course of the entire summer he never swam more than 25 yards without stopping and always with his head out of the water.

The fall chill was in full force and I worked him over to get him to go to the Triangle Aquatic Center with me for a swim workout.  He wouldn’t budge.  Then it struck me: I bribed him with the beanie.  If he could swim 200 meters non-stop, I would give it to him.  Refreshing memory here…  He never swam more than 25 yards and never put his face in the water when he did.  He took the bet and off to the pool we went.

Once on deck we ran into Brian and Susan Washburn and we told them about the bet.  Brian pulls Jeremy aside and they have a private chat.  I have no idea what was said, but Brian was pointing and with some animation was describing the secret to winning the bet.

I was secretly hoping that Jeremy would learn some respect for swimming and triathlon once he figured out how difficult it could be.  Jeremy puts on goggles (for the first time in his life) and hops in.  Once again I confirm, “there and back four times for 200 meters.”

The kid takes off with a perfect stroke which includes bilateral breathing.  He touches the far wall and returns.  Already he has doubled his furthest swim distance.  He keeps it going – bang, bang bang.  He pounds out 200 meters without stopping, hops out of the pool, walks straight to me and says, “where’s my hat?”

I couldn’t believe it.  What the hell did Brian say to him?  I stared at Brian as I handed over my favorite beanie.

My Shoes Are Cooked

Posted: October 26, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

Jim Bertrand, perhaps best known as the Hammer Rep., completely hooked me up with a pair of handmade Bont cycling shoes. They are the a-two model with moldable carbon fiber soles.

I point this out for three reasons: 1) I am very grateful to Jim,  2) it is important that everyone know that I will probably say nice things about your stuff if it is free, & 3) clearly I am important and influential or people like Jim would have no reason to slide schwag my way.

These Bont shoes have seriously high cool factor.  They look like nothing else I have ever seen and have very distinct European styling.  Perhaps coolest of all is that the big Dane and World Road Champion, Thor Hushovd, has been wearing these for some time.  And, they sell them at Inside-Out Sports.

What is most intriguing to me is that the carbon soles can be molded and remolded any number of times.  So, today I did just that and heated up the shoes in the oven and went through the fit/adjustment process.  So far, I seriously dig how they feel.

I plan to give these babies a few rides on my bike and will write a serious review for DELTA Triathlon.

disclosure

This Is A Test

Posted: October 22, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

If you looked at this and the first thing you saw was a seriously cool new mountain bike…well, welcome to my world.  I wish I could explain it, but, yeah, I saw the bike before the babe.

Perhaps it is time to adjust the rear view mirror on my helmet or peel away the reflector tape.  I don’t know when this shift happened and I don’t really even care so much.  I love cool new toys and am not afraid to admit it.

On the life journey this may be a natural progression.  Cool toys had to be a very important aspect of cave man survival.  Clearly a new bike is just as important as the ability to conjure fire at will, stave off wild animal attacks and keep warm on cool nights.  Let’s go with this.  It works for me.

Daylight makes me happy!

We were all so looking forward to the end of summer.  The heat was relentless this year.  But, perhaps we forgot that with fall comes reduced daylight.

I am struggling a bit with my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Long days of work and early sunset – regardless of how beautiful it is – are leaving me with very little effective time in daylight.

I need a plan to get my tail out during the day.  Even if for a walk or short run – I need to see the sun.  I NEED THE SUN!!!

I am diggin’ the whole night-time running and riding thing. It ain’t enough.  Who is up for a lunch time run and sneaking out for coffee during the day?  Anyone else out there who works at home in your jammies until mid-afternoon?

 

Once again I date myself.  Yes, I am old enough to have followed the Red Zinger, which became the Coor’s Classic bicycle stage race in Colorado.

The really old dudes, like Jack Earley, call it the Zinger (yea, the tea company sponsored it).  I call it the Coor’s.

This race was so much fun to attend.  In the early 80’s my friend Steve Tilford was the national champion at MTB and cyclocross.  He also was a seriously good pro for the Raleigh team.

Many summers I made my way to Colorado to hang out with Steve and his teammates – Andy Hampsten, Thurlow Rogers, Roy Knickman and many others.  I actually bought a Raleigh 753 frame built in Nottingham England from Andy Hampsten.  Yeah, the same Andy who won the Giro d’Italia.  and, yeah, I still have the bike.  Andy needed gas money.

One of my favorite stories is from 1985.  Bernard Hinault had just won the Tour de France with Greg Lemond’s help.  The La Vie Claire team came to Colorado in support of Greg.  Andy Hampsten was the big hope from the Levi’s Raleigh team, having just won a stage in the Giro d’Italia. It was going to be a HUGE show down.  The Levi’s Raleigh team and half of Colorado was pulling for Andy and the rest for LeMond.

Everyone knew where the race would be won or lost on a mountain stage from Golden up to Ward and Nederland and in to Boulder on highway 6.  This was the showdown.

Out in Colorado before the race started, Steve, Roy, Thurlow, Bob Roll, Andy and me all took off from Golden to ride the stage.  The team practiced setting up Andy to launch his attack on Hinault and LeMond. My job in the practice was to act like a big sprinter who would immediately get dropped.  I hung on for dear life, but OMG these guys were sooo damn fast.  I was the first one to pop, but watched as Andy popped everyone else up the road.  Funny, but I remembered Bob Roll as a goof, as opposed to an incredibly funny and brilliant commentator.  I do remember riding into Boulder as my speedometer tipped 65 mph.  Sixty-five feels like a million on one-inch bicycle tires.

The actual stage began in the Coor’s Brewery parking lot in Golden.  Despite my allegiance to Andy and the Levi’s Raleigh team, I couldn’t help but to ask Hinault for an autograph.  He was an ass.  Greg was very excited the morning of the big stage and we had a nice chat about racing le Tour.  Earlier in the year, I had attended a cycling camp with Greg and Steve Bauer.  I think he may sort have remembered me.

The attacks came early.  Tilford’s job was to drive the pace early and very hard.  He was great.  Andy launched his attack.  He was valiant.  Honestly, I do not remember exactly what happened after this, but Andy did not make up enough time on LeMond, who went on to win the overall general classification.

But, I was there man and practically helped to almost help Andy win.  Or something like that.  It surely was fun to be a legitimite hanger-on back in the day.

 

 

 

Wow!  I went downtown for a preview workout on the Real Ryder bikes at the HEAT studio.  These bikes rock (literally).  My core is in serious need of a tuning and these bikes gave me that.

 

I was honored to be invited to the “instructor” training this morning.  Yikes!  I did an hour on the Real Ryder then 2.5 hours on the road bike.  My legs are shot.

I am not sure what happened, but I was actually pondering a run after my ride today. Perhaps I am becoming an athlete again???  I hope so.

Regardless, I am headed to regular workouts at HEAT.  This concept totally works for me.

 

 

I just moved very close to Umstead Park with a straight shot in on the Black Creek Trail.  What a luxury.

In times past, I have run and ridden this route many times, including two near-death experiences while running the Inside-Out Umstead Half-marathon.  I blame Wes Sisk and Paul Sappie for these.

In a previous post, I discussed how I create an annual personal plan. My IOSDT Teammates and living next to the Black Creek trail are starting to inspire me to get my tail back in shape.  Goals for 2011 and a real training plan is beginning to form…

Core strength will be a big part of my routine.  Luckily, I also have this great workout facility where I live.  So, there will some iron pushin’ going on.  And my headlamp and bike light are going to be heavily relied upon as I run and ride in Umstead Park.

This is starting to feel good.  What should my goals be for 2011?  Do I go big, or focus on more sustained smaller races?  Whatever I do, I want it to be fun.

 

 

 

In the triathlon community, at least among the cool kids, I am fairly visible.  Many people whose name I don’t know, know who I am.  This is great and terrible at the same time.

I won’t lie, I totally enjoy the notoriety.  At the same time, this blessing is a curse.  Many people confuse my passion for the sport of triathlon and the pursuit of mind over body with the assumption that I must be good at it.  I am not.

I am a middle-of-the-packer and this is quite difficult for me to accept.

This weekend, for example, each of our IOSDT teammates won races and/or won their age group.  I could not be more thrilled by this.  I share in the victory as a marginal contributor, but I did not and could not win myself.  To be honest, this is difficult to accept.

Please do not feel guilty for winning or competing at the highest level.  You have been blessed with amazing skills and you have worked very hard to be successful.

I am a good dad, a good provider, a good friend, good at keeping the Bank of America Network working all around the globe, good at promoting healthy lifestyles, good at providing value to my sponsors, and I like to think that I am good at running the IOSDT triathlon team.

However, I won’t lie, there are days when I would trade it all to kick all of your asses.  I am just sayin’….

Please don’t hold me to a higher triathlon standard than I am capable.  At the same time, I hope that you will always challenge me to be a better person, friend and confidante.

 

 

 

Tools Eat Beef

Posted: October 6, 2010 in It's All Important Stuff

I will caveat this, once again, with this clear statement, “I do not like Alberto Contador, because he is a tool.”

Cycling fans are in another conundrum.  We want the cheaters out of the sport of professional cycling and we are tired of the hits that the sport is taking.

In case you have not heard, Alberto, forever forward known as “Bert”, tested positive for Clenbuterol and type of chemical called a “plasticizer.”

During Le Tour, Plasticizer, was discovered in Bert. Evidence of that chemical in an athlete’s urine could mean the athlete has used a blood transfusion to boost endurance. The World Anti-Doping Agency bans blood transfusions or any intravenous infusions, except in a medical emergency.  A test performed on at least one of Contador’s urine samples from the Tour revealed levels of that chemical eight times higher than the minimum amount that signifies doping, according to a person with knowledge of the test results.

The next day he tested positive for clenbuterol, a weight-loss and muscle-building drug. Bert claimed that the failed test came from his consumption of tainted beef from Spain.

“Even without a validated test, it could be looked at in a case-by-case basis,” Francesco Botré, the chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Rome, said. “If someone has a very, very high level of plasticizers in the urine, it would be hard for that athlete to explain how that happened if not for doping. If the level is lower, it obviously would make it much harder, but it would still be possible to prove.”

A day before the Tour’s decisive mountain stage, he tested positive for clenbuterol, a drug that boosts metabolism but can also increase aerobic capacity and the ability to process oxygen. He faces a two-year ban and loss of his Tour title if convicted of a doping offense.

Contador, who said he was tested eight times in the Tour’s final week, failed the test for clenbuterol on July 21, one day after the failed plasticizer test. Though the levels of the drug found in his urine were “very small,” according to the cycling union, doping rules say that any amount constitutes an offense.

So here we are again.  Did Bert eat tainted beef?  This is certainly possible, as cattle ranchers have certainly used Clenbuterol, illegally, to grow beef. I believed Tyler and Floyd and Lance.  At least two of them seriously let me down.  I sure as hell do not believe Bert.

Bert used drugs to win.  This is my opinion.  State your own.  The cyclists no longer get the benefit of the doubt.