Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Race Season 2007-2008

I am the 'Intrepid Age Grouper'. It's my homage to Calvin and Hobbes.

This is why I took two months off, then a strict three month build with no racing.

11/17/07 Intrepid Age Grouper @ El Tour De Tucson, 110 mile cycling race. The 25th Anniversary of this race will have 10,000 cyclist riding around Tucson. It is a rolling course with two dismounts to cross streams. I am pacing a buddy through this race with a goal time of under 7 hours. I have always wanted to do this race.

12/02/07 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Tucson Marathon. The whole enchilada. I am pacing a friend. Again a race I have always wanted to take part in.

1/13/08 PF Chang Half Marathon @ Intrepid Age Grouper. I have heard bloggers are coming down to this race. It won't be my first time but it will be fun with friends.

3/22/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Lake Havasu Triathlon. Olympic Distance. Last epic training before Ironman. After all the long IM training, this will help me remember how fun racing is. Swimming under the original London Bridge should be a blast for this history buff.

4/13/08 Ironman Arizona @ Intrepid Age Grouper. The Reckoning. I am above becoming to emotional about this race. I got really sick and still raced in 2007. Stupid. Still, this 'A' race represents my vision of having a great race and is my focus. My goal is sub-13.

5/03/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Rocky Pt. Mexico. Olympic. I love this race. Its international. It's on Saturday. We stay in a 5,000 square foot penthouse with great friends at an awesome resort.

5/18/08 Tempe International Classic @ Intrepid Age Grouper. International. Not a great race. Super hot. But if I stay healthy, I will PR.

6/08/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Escape From Alcatraz. Olympic. Need to get a lottery pick first. Heard good things. Want to challenge myself against the current of SF Bay. There really could be sharks in that water! Destination race in a good city. Something that I would not do every year so it appeals to me.

7/20/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Mountain Man, Flagstaff. Half Ironman. Bolder has told me if I do this race as a Half Iron, he will give me a life time exemption of SLP status. The course starts at 6,500 and tops out at 7,500. If I do the Olympic, as I have done in the past, (notably when I stress fractured my leg on the bike and finished in 2006), he will just renew my 2 year exemption.

9/21/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Cancun Ironman 70.3. Cancun has the lure of the tropics and is another punch on the international triathlete card. Several friends and team mates could make this a long weekend of fun and for those north of Kansas City, it will supply a winters worth of stories of palm tree and frilly drinks. Maybe recreate a past spring break or create our own. No kids allowed. My second 'A' race of the year.

9/22/08 Nathans Olympic Triathlon @ Intrepid Age Grouper. Sprint or Olympic TBD. If Cancun is a bust I will have this as a local back up for same weekend. Just a training day race to have fun on the course before getting serious for Vegas.

9/28/08 Intrepid Age Grouper @ Las Vegas Triathlon. I actually decided to break my base training camp in 2007 and do this race with Iron Kahuna and Robo Stu but a wedding in Seattle the same weekend forced my hand. This is a provisional race again in 2008 as Cancun is one week earlier than this race and I plan on being in Cancun for at least four days with Mistress and friends. That being said, I would really enjoy doing this race.

10/26/08 Soma @ Intrepid Age Grouper. Half Iron. If I can't get to Cancun 70.3 in September I will do Soma as my last long course tri of the year.

11/08/08 Just Another Mad Dog 50K @ Intrepid Age Grouper. My first Ultra baby! I would have done this in 2007, except El Tour de Tucson is the next weekend and needed fresh legs for a 110 mile bike. Even though a 50K does not have the oomph of a 100 miler, I would really like to put ultra-marathon on my resume and cap this magical season off with authority.

On the radar for next year but not listed is the local MyoMed Ragnar Relay, a 189 mile running relay for a team of 12 and the possibly still complete my dream of a rim to rim of the Grand Canyon.

This is an aggressive race schedule and not for those who are new to running or triathlon. I am looking for new locations and challenges for this season and created a plan that keeps me off balance and fresh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The big gear up

The Season Of Believing is upon me. Race season that is. My 'dance' card has been filled out for some time but I am tweaking some of the events due to costs of travel. You didn't think I would be doing all this base training to just cobble a season together at the last minute, did you?

My 2008 races are a mix of short course, long course, really long courses and hopefully, honestly some scenery. I realized in my last season which ran from November 2005 through May 2007, that it was too long in duration and too Ironman specific.

I also realize that I can't relive my 2005-2007. That would be a mistake and I made plenty of those last season and will make plenty of new ones this season. I have grown as a triathlete. Some races will most certainly be repeats however what I am looking for is a progression in the sport and I can't do that focusing on the same things over and over again, wondering, "These are great...but is this it?"

I went from a barely surviving 400 yard pool sprint swimmer to a 2.4 mile ocean based Ironman with 4 foot swells. I went from doing my own thing to founding a triathlon club. From boring bland tri clothes to shaping the color landscape of Phoenix with Tribe/AZTRICLUB orange on racers and spectators alike, (orange is THE color of triathlon in Phoenix). The Tri blog alliance went from five of us to over a 100. I have become invested in people that I have never met.

What will next season bring? Belief I hope. Not just for me, but for others. I want to help others believe they can do this awesome sport too. I will be excited when I finish all my races smiling and vertical but celebrate the success of my friends. I have created a kick ass amazing race season for the next twelve months and I want to share it all with you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Soma Epic Weekend

Disclaimer- I am too tired to hyperlink all the bloggers mentioned or alluded to in this report. I do not do their deeds justice in this post nor can I truly explain the magnitude at which I appreciated being apart of special weekend.


Talk about a gangbuster fast weekend of blogger-centric activity. I most certainly will not be able to condense everything into a cogent post and really my contribution was minimal considering I did not have a bib number.

Bolder and I again slit our fingers and mashed them together in blood-brotherhood and swore oaths to meet for race weekend once per year. That may also have been spilled our beer and cursed like sailors, but you get the point. Bold stayed with me at Casa del Comm's while Mistress and Mo were in Seattle. I could not promise turn down service or home cooked meals but he got excellent sleep every night and a personal chauffeur at his beck and call. I can do no more.

As Nytro so eloquently pointed out at lunch during the expo, the only places I eat with her and Ben are Olive Garden and Monti's (a rustic restaurant directly across the finish line of Soma and IMAZ) Rainbow and Hubby could only claim Monti's with me, so Nytro felt superior. Which isn't surprising.

I finally met Stronger. Reaching out to finally touch someone in person that has touched me so much as a person, I admit got me teary eyed. I may in future references blame horseradish for the redness in my eyes. But nevertheless I could have done nothing else the whole weekend and meeting her made it complete.

Of course my email training partner, MoMo was there all the time (we keep emailing schedules and have yet to ride together), 21st Century Mom whom is as sweet a person IRL as online, thank you for the gifts. The Dread Pirate, AAAARRRR she was ruckus woman. There will be much said regarding her race and I give her high praise for never speaking a disparaging word about it. Un-pirate like to not blame 'The Man' but she showed me once again the triathlon spirit that an indomitable attitude is more important at a triathlon than a great race.

Oh geesh, so many people at a 25 person dinner that its hard to give proper dues. But at least thanks Brian and the New Mexico Outlaws for allowing me to attend the dinner. I sat at a table with great minds and easy smiles. It was a bit overwhelming to maintain so many threads of conversations, I wanted to be a part of them all and not miss anything.

The Race. How did my race day go when I wasn't racing? Well being Bolder's personal driver is a big responsibility. I woke at 0220, unable to sleep so I hopped on my trainer until 0400 when my alarm when off. Pre Race was great, I did not see much of the out of towners except Bold so we stayed with AZTRICLUB members. We're not hard to see, racers and supporters alike in our bright orange shirts.

I jumped in and volunteered a couple hours stripping wet suits. Fun. Drank some beers. Then when Big John came out of T2, I went out to pace him for his first half of the 13.1 mile run. At three miles, we ran into Duane and I decided to walk the remainder of his quarter man 10k with him as he was starting to be affected greatly by the weather. It hit 100 degrees out there during the race. Duane and I did not get a chance to talk much at the dinner and I felt badly about that. Maybe God had put him and I out there together on the run course together so we could spend the time together that I wanted the night before. I was compelled to push John forward and stay with Duane.

Duane got so much praise and support from fellow competitors out there. It was affirming of the human spirit and humbling. His mouth, all our mouths, were so dry that he simply could not respond to every person who spoke to him or touched him when they ran by in support of his efforts.

In all I spent two hours and seventeen minutes on the run course, running up and down, walking with and talking to important people who needed encouragement or a side-five. Doing that while first pacing John then pacing Duane really made me feel like a better person than just being a spectator.

The AZTRICLUB tent was a hub of activity. This time we had three 10x10 tents for shade with 5 cases of beer, 6 bottles of champagne, water and Gatorade, muffins, danishes, homemade burritos, German chocolate cake, bagels, fruit and chips. The team probably handed out a case of beer and couple dozen small glasses of champagne to friends and fellow athletes who felt obliged. We may not be the fast tri club in the city, but everyone knows we do it up at races.

While Soma is the end of most peoples seasons, Florida Ironman and Silverman not withstanding, my season is soon about to begin.

Let's have fun....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Battle of the Ages

This is actually some funny stuff. did a segment recently with six time Ironman Kona winner Dave Scott whom is titled to be racing head on against current Kona champ Macca this November at the Silverman in Las Vegas.

You can listen to it HERE.

Scott, 53, in the few interviews I have seen with him, is a consummate straightman in interviews allowing cut ups like Paul Huddle to deliver some great lines.

In reality Scott has no illusion of beating Macca or anyone else. In his own words, "I don't think any man can claim the title of PRO at the age of 53." Instead he will continue to inspire all of us young and old, and perhaps a current champion to look at triathlon as a lifelong endeavor and not a life judged by the last hour on the clock.

I must thank superfast aztriclub team mate, 'Chile' (as in pepper, not country) for the heads up on this. He is racing Silverman in November, his second Ironman of the year. Its a no joke bike course with 10,000 feet of climbing and his response to me after he did a sponsored full course ride in September, "Comm's....there is no flat spots on this course. Its either up or down. Sweeeet."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not next time, Next Year

Of course with the second biggest race in Phoenix this weekend, (#1 Ironman, #2 Soma) everybody asks if I am participating. Its not as hard as you think to say "No." Since June, when I took two months off of structured training and then in August when I started my base building, my eye has been firmly on my prize. 2008. The entire year.

Periodization. We have seen that word in the magazines and training manuals. For me the subject is generally glazed over. But I got tired of just training for my next race. For much of my life as a Fitness Enthusiast, I simply looked at what was next on the calendar and planned for that.

This year I tried a different approach. Instead of racing, recovery, rebuild, taper, racing, recovery rebuild, over and over again; I took the approach of long term thinking for the entire season. Will it work? I hope so.

That being said, I have a diverse schedule for next season. Almost like a new season of Heroes, it has some new races, some old races and some sacrifices. A villain returns for another battle. New locations, better sets but unfortunately there will be no trip to Europe, (a la Heroes opening of season 2 or Ross Gellers London wedding to Emily in the Friends finale of season 4 ). Oh well, Ironman UK is over rated.

I really haven't made a secret of the schedule for my next season of racing, at least locally. But honestly, with most tri-bloggers deep into the finishing touches of their fantastic year, most Ironman finishers than every before and more importantly more first time triathletes than every before, it feels counter-productive to post what I am trying to do next year when this year is not even over for most.

Lots of people have jumped on my back. I have been called a 'wuss' for not doing some local races this year, even though my training plan has me doing more volume than is needed for the event. I have been called a slacker, for not showing up for a 30 minute swim when instead I did a 3 hour bike or a two hour run. I have been called crazy for getting up at 0330 to get in a 30 mile ride before the club shows up and I join them for the scheduled 30 mile ride.

I am thinking long term this time. The foundation of the next dozen races has been laid over the summer and fall of this year. I'll let everything else speak for itself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Woah. Where'd the day go? I am quite relaxed as i leave r e i. mistress is now gone & had to stack up on cliff bars & camp meals for food

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear can make you run faster in a race because you don't want to be passed. Fear can stop you in your tracks or make you cower against the wall for protection. Far to often, I believe, we remember and hold onto the fears that hold us back and not the ones that propel us forward.

Its easy to consider the visceral fears we have about snakes, or heights or being alone in the dark. These immediately set upon us just being in the vicinity of the challenge. These are deep seated fears that came from a trauma or situation that at the time your mind was unable to comprehend. But these fears are generally marginalized because we attempt to live in a bubble that negates being around snakes, or the edges of tall buildings or being in dark, quiet places.

Its the fear of failure that affects all of us on a daily basis and that we have the greatest power over. The fear of failing family. The fear of being fired from your job. The fear of asking for the sale. The fear of standing up for yourself in the name of injustice.

I think when it comes to these fears we allow ourselves to be controlled by our emotions too much and our intelligence not enough. We put the same weight on the fear of finishing a marathon as we do on seeing a snake in wild. We equate the fear of standing in front of a small group for a presentation as we do looking over a ten story balcony.

I use to have a fear of heights whenever I looked over a long drop. Then I realized my fear did not occur when I was tied in with a rope rappelling off a helicopter or when bungie jumping or when I was rock climbing.

I realized my fear was not falling from that high...but jumping with no safety measures. Once I realized that I could look over a drop of any distance, I just have to tell myself, "Don't jump". Thats much different than the natural inclination to think, "Don't fall!"

So my conclusion is to change the paradigm of my fear. I still don't want to fail my family, so I think, "Don't fail yourself." I still don't like snakes much, but as long as I think, "Don't touch" instead of "Don't bite" I can get along just fine.

Not sure if I want to get rid of the fear of being passed in a race. I still think that that fear is a powerful motivator for good.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I had a weird weekend. Mistress is well enough that she wanted to swim with her team on Saturday. I had had a long week but for some reason I stayed up all night. Its a strange sensation when my 0330 alarm goes off and I did not have to wake up to turn it off. I just looked at my wrist. In any regard I was sort of a wreck on Saturday. While I was mentally asleep, physically I did about 3 hours of yard work. For a landscaper I make a pretty good triathlete. Bigun will never have to worry about competition from me.

Got lots of rest on Saturday night, being up for 38 hours and taking a sleeping pill will do that. Training was set for later in the morning but Mistress tossed her back out and I spent the day on Mo duty while she stayed off her feet.

I always look forward to Monday as a fresh start of the training week. I got in my scheduled workout and have actually had some break through on some nagging work issues. Mistress and Mo are going to Seattle for the weekend and Bolder is staying with me for SOMA so I have to rearrange the rest of my training a bit to make everything work out.

Its hard to take anything to seriously today as southern California is engulfed in flames. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has lost their homes, been evacuated or sitting under mental anguish for a family or friend. I have heard some of the current 17 fires were deliberate by arsonists.

Have hope, Dan in San Diego. Be strong Kahuna and Robo-Stu. I am thinking of you three all the time today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who Said...

What is that cliche? "Other than your bike, a wetsuit will be your biggest triathlon purchase." Something like that?

Last night while plunking down another $25 plus tax for a pair of Aqua Sphere goggles, I realize that goggles are really what cost you long term in this sport.

What has been the constant or repetitive purchase of one item that you have made in the sport of triathlon that you figured would not have been as expensive as you initially thought when you got into the sport?

Tubes? Tires? Do you go through gloves? Goggles? Gels? Have you gone from the same pair of running shoes since college to having a closet full? Destroying iPods?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Watch for Gremlins

I have a Gremlin with me today.

This particular gremlin ruined my swim workout. While attempting to start my warm up my goggles continuously leaked, causing me to stop every ten yards to purge the water seeping in.

After enduing a pulled-the-strap-to-tight-gave-me-a headache lap, I took the goggles off preparing to throw them in frustration. That's when I saw the gasket around the eye piece was completely warped and utterly useless. The workout was over before it even begun.

Gremlins!!! Who else would do such things to my goggles.

I know I am not alone in this. Whom else has lost the battle to gremlin duplicity lately. Have you driven to a bike workout only have gremlins take your front tire, helmet or shoes from your gear? Has a gremlin also sabotaged your swim? Or a run?

Lets talk this out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kona Fashion

Just from my personal observations watching several hours of Ironman Hawaii it will be an interesting 2008 season visually.

To begin with, a lot more bikes painted in light blues and whites. I have not noticed many white bikes in the past but they are certainly turning up now.

The dress of the day can be summed up in one word, Retro. Macca wore a Day Glo blue one piece with the entire side panel in hot pink. Very 80's.

Torbjorn Sindballe wore all white on the run which is not very fashion forward, but it was all compression material. A long sleeve compression top, long white compression shorts and compression socks. Why all the white? Apparently he believed it would keep him cooler and have more places to put ice and water to cool his core. In fact there were a couple dozen people out there, it looked like, that were wearing compression socks. Now I used a compression sock to help heal my stress fractured tibia instead of a cast but its application to running has been fringe at best in my understanding.

Photos from the Underwear Run, and conversations about modes of dress during race week, have led me to believe that speedos will once again be worn a local races in 2008. Designer speedos were being shown off as fashion, like striped or textured pieces.

Also, word is that Speedo Fast skin suits were THE most talked about piece of clothing of the day. Apparently in 2006 only Normann Stadler wore the super slick in water fabric and at the 2007 race the beach was lined with bodies wearing the stuff.

Confidence is sexy. If nothing else, confidence and preparation favored the race. With so many former world champions out of the race so early, many people who planned only on a top 15 finish, came in top ten. What does this mean for us? Its an object lesson that no matter how many times we have missed the podium or a Top 5 placing in our divisions, Anything Is Possible.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kona Update


Seven years of effort on this course has paid off for Chris McCormack. He gave up his Olympic dreams this year to focus on being the Ironman Champion. He never let up.

Craig Alexander, also an Australian, took second in his first Kona race. Aussies take 1 & 2.

Kona Update

Macca has overcome a ten minute deficit to take the mens lead on the run from Chris Leito! 70.3 Ironman champion and new comer to Kona, Craig "Crowie" Alexander is running at break neck speed to catch up and it could very well be a run down between him and Macca. It seems Leito is shot.

Chrissie Wellington (who?) is leading the woman and five minutes behind is Samantha McGlone who is a short course and Olympic champion in her first Kona showing.

My friend Nick is off the bike in 210th place. He climbed almost 300 spots with a 5:10 bike (21.66 mph). His total transition times equal six minutes.

Kona Update

Watching the live stream at IronmanLive. Crazy day at Kona so far. No clouds and no wind.

A flu bug has knocked out Norman Stadler and Faris Al Sultan. Both up puking all night.

Luke Bell and Cam Brown are out too for reasons unknown right now.

Chris McCormick ten minutes back from Torbjorn Sindballe leaving T2. Tim DeBoom is right there too. Macca last year almost overcame a ten minute deficet on Stadler and is hauling ass to take the lead. Both Macca and DeBoom are faster runners than Sindballe.

Natasha Badmann has hit a traffic cone, ripped up her shoulder grabbed a different bike and tried to continue but could not.

Michelle Jones dropped out from a perforated ear drum injury she sustained in SoCal a few weeks back, also where Stadler and Al Sutan got their flu bug.

There will definitely be a new womens champion today.

Tim DeBoom is the only man on the course who has won Kona.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's a dance

You don't expect triathlon to be considered a choreography or a dance. Sometimes you will see the absurdity of gigantic NFL lineman being led through an aerobics class by some small, well trained instructor and the juxtaposition of the her well rehearsed moves verses the unwieldy, clumsy excuses put forth by football player make a funny visual.

When it comes right down to it, we triathletes have a similar choreography. The gracefulness of good swimmer. The body may be 85% underwater with just heels, side of the face and of course the arms being seen, but there is no mistaking someone who is so damn good at it. When watched they move so fast in the water and yet it looks as if their arms move in slow motion out of the water.

Cycling has its own choreography. A cyclist who has a near perfect pedal stroke does not look considerably different than someone who just learned how to ride. The power of a good cyclist is the obvious indicator. However the speed of the rotation, the angle of the body, the lack of sway, all work in concert for smooth movement through the environment. While I personally don't enjoy being passed by anyone on the bike, the parallax of the disc wheel humming past me is like a symphony. Who says music isn't allowed on the bike course?

Running is not so much a choreography. Let's be honest about that. Running is completely different than cycling and swimming. Running in a triathlon is more about the capacity for enduring infinite pains than anything else. You can see a swimmer or cyclist and even at the fastest, break neck speed you can say, boy are they smooth and smooth equals fast. When you watch the best in the world run a marathon or a 5k, their is a this incredibly frenetic movement that blurs the precision of movement with kinetic energy. When brought down to the level of the average age grouper, we seldom feel we run with perfect movements; we lead with the heel, run too far bent over or too upright, gasping for air or wondering where the speed is.

The ballet of T1 and T2 can make or break even the best race.

There is no doubt that in every sport there are routes to be run, plays to be executed. Triathlon though a solitary sport although incorporating three different events is the same. I think to an affirmation I use quite a bit, "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." Next time you watch the best of the best do what you love to watch don't forget to appreciate the choreography of their movements and not just the score or the time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Operation: Get Smart

After a few minutes of mostly me relating my liteny of head injury's, there was an uncomfortable pause as Mistress and I sat across the desk from the doctor. I thought, "We need an ice breaker."

Me: "So. Am I an idiot-savant."
Dr: "No."

Me: "Am I an idiot?"
Dr: "No."

Me: "Am I a savant?"
Dr" "No."

Me: "Can I tell people I'm a savant?"
Dr: "Sure. Go ahead."

Me (leaning in my chair to Mistress): "Honey. I'm a savant."
Mistress: "That's nice dear." "Now wipe the drool from your chin."

It didn't go exactly like that but nevertheless, here I am still a highly functioning head injury victim let loose on society. It took quite a while to go through the history of the open head injury, the closed head injury, the lack of effort the medical community put into me afterwards, the lying I did to get out of therapy, the mulitple concussions I've had since. The treatments I recieved for the physical recovery like learning how to walk and talk and tie my shoes. The treatments I got for the cognitive functions, the routines I learned. The coping mechanisms. At many points she cursed under her breath at the lack of effort and resources that were available to me at the time.

It was easy to express the the areas I felt I needed work with. It was a bit more difficult to listen to Mistress express her concerns on my changes. I purposefully did not read her list of things to review before hand, she would ask me. I would agree with most of them. Not all. But the problem with this condition is what is part of the brain injury and what is part of just being a driven guy.

By the end of the session, I realized that I had given her enough verbal cues to conditions past and present that there was no way I could be faking the severity of my symptoms. Like when I told her that for as long as I can remember I haven't been able to smell. Turns out the sniffer nerve is right next to where I had the big hit. I was relating something like smelling things differently and she suddenly stop writing, looked at me, smiled a second, then look back down. Sort of a 'Ah ha' moment. Lots of those.

The doctor explained that many victims of a multiple traumatic head injury such as I have sustained begin to exhibit breakdowns of ability around 20 years and mine will be 21 years ago next month. A good portion after twenty years of tying to cope, simply cannot and regress to a level where they become removed from their family, society or the workforce.

She gave me some 'Ah ha' moments. The almost universal mental response among TBI's to read the same thing over and over again (like I do when writing blog posts for example), how it takes much more mental energy to accomplish the same in a day as a normally functional person and this can make the person feel more tired, worn out or experience signs of slight depression.

In the end she is scheduling me for a test. I forgot the name already. It's basically an all day test to see where I am at and get baselines for future comparison. There are tests for lower functioning people and then people like me that are more high function but still have issues.

If for nothing else, I appreciate all of you who have stuck through these maybe inciteful but probably boring, self expressive posts. Maybe you know someone who has had a head injury like mine or maybe just a traumatic or mild concussion. I am not given to hyperbole but even one concussion can do harm, let alone the damage someone like me has done to himself repeatively.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kona Call

Today is the day that most athletes will be traveling to Kona for the Ironman World Championships. How exciting. While I personally have very little desire to do Kona, I, like everyone am in complete awe of every person who qualifies for a spot.

I plan on spending Sunday with the laptop open and following special people. My friend, triathlon coach Nick (Nicholas) Goodman will there. This is his third trip. He started this years journey by winning a full Ironman slot at Ironman California 70.3, then winning a Kona slot by "doing well" (how modest) at Lake Placid.

Nick believes he will come in sub-10. In 2005 at Kona he was 10:10. He has sub-10 at IMAZ.

Do you have someone for me to track online? I think the more the better to pass the time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Conservatism vs. Consumerism

I have a ceiling fan hanging in the middle of my family room. It has a light kit underneath, nothing special about that. The photo is a representation of it, not the actual unit.

Over the course of a last week two of the three lights stopped working. In a matter of good conscious I decided to replace all three with CFL energy efficient bulbs. Again.

The first time I did this a year ago, yes before Al Gore's movie, the color emitted from them was a ghastly yellow green. Our family attempted to get used to the lighting but after a few days it was apparent we would rather sit in the dark than turn on the lights. Maybe thats how we are supposed to save money?

So they went away.

Sunday I replaced all the lights in the ceiling fan with CFL's. The lights this time are a perfect white light. I simply matched up the converted wattage of the CFL's to the normal bulbs but ended up with a much brighter room and a serious contrast to the lightening in the rest of the downstairs. Not to be deterred we decided next week we will buy more environmentally friendly bulbs at $3.88 a piece at a lower wattage to tone down the family room and move the brighter lights to the outside lights.

New problem.

Since Sunday I couldn't figure out why my tv remote was taking so many 'clicks' to react to a command. When I replaced the lights I also upgraded some wires on my entertainment systems' components. I figured I moved the cable box out of alignment with our seating. So I moved my arm up and down and stretched it left and right and sat in different spots always aiming the remote at the cable box. I changed the battery's. In all cases after several clicks the command would be accepted to change the volume or channel or whatever.

The next day, after a long day of work, sitting in front of my gigantic flat screen DLP HD tv, in my ultra bright family room, I started to get frustrated flipping between programs. And when I get frustrated I get inspired. So I asked my wife who was walking by to flick off the lights.

Immediately the tv began accepting my commands. Could it be?

Yes! After a few minutes of flicking the lights on and off and quite a few "Oh My Goshes", it was confirmed that three 100 watt CFL bulbs 8 feet up can disrupt the commands sent from a tv remote to a cable box, a distance of about ten feet apart.

There's some moral decision here. First, I could stop watching television in a well lit room out of frustration of pushing a button five times for one command. Two, I could go out to the garage and tap the stockpile evil incandescent bulbs and zone out stress free in beautiful soft white light.

Yeah. I know. The garage.

This week was the 515th anniversary of Columbus reaching the New World. I have a feeling that well before we even get to the 200th anniversary of Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb he will be subjected to the same outrage. Thomas Edison the destructor of the environment for creating the light bulb! Well I say how dare people tell me I have to use energy efficient light bulbs when that means I waste energy switching channels. Where is the savings in that?

So a warning to all of you other do-gooders out there. Energy saving light bulbs may lower your energy bill by pennies a month but absolutely will increase your frustration level changing channels.

Monday, October 8, 2007

new photos

Mo and Mistress on the farm of our family friends outside Seattle. Mo spent the night and got to play with the chickens and eat blackberry's off the vine.

Mo at swim practice. Notice the speedo? He doesn't like board shorts.

He doesn't like his hair spiky but for some reason on picture day at school he wanted it spiky.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A quesiton...

Why in an indoor (paster wall) pool with a white paint job, does the water still look blue?

My maintenance man asked me that question Friday, "You're a triathlete, let me ask you..."

I responded, "I'm a triathlete not a pointed headed, smart guy scientist. But I will ask some friends that are big book readers."

So I poise the question to all of you. Is it the way the lighting reflects off water molecules, like why the sky is blue. I suppose that even in aerial photography of oceans water is blue even though you can't see the bottom.

Inquiring minds want to know...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Say Again. Again.

Things have been really good at Casa de Comm's. Training and work for the most part have been exciting. Our family has been spending some quality time together and bonding really well.

Unfortunatley I have been having some problems with this old head of mine. The last year or so my short term memory has gotten worse. My word recall has gotten to the point that people who don't know of my condition ask me if I am okay. Even people who do know of the ongoing obstacles have confessed that my conversation patterns and word usage has degraded. A halting speech pattern I thought I overcame a decade ago has returned. But if nothing else, I have some really funny anecdote's.

It certainly takes me longer to write cogent blog posts and important business letters than it did a year ago. (Upon personal approval of this post it took 2.5 hours to draft and proof before upload).

Today we had a company meeting. In two separate conversations, I called two people I talk to everyday by different names after we had already been talking. They sort of noticed that. Another was an employee whom I have known for five years, I forgot her name. Complete blank. She asked me to change a number in her stats (which I update at the end of each month) and I just couldn't remember her name. Luckily we were in my office and I have prepared for such mental lapses by having every employees name written on my office walls and once I found her club, I was able to recall her on the board and she never noticed.

Mistress and I are having communication problems. Not in that we yell and argue, hardly, but more along the lines of her not being able to express what she is doing in ways I will understand and me processing what she is telling me. Part of this is the normal loss of clarity between a couple that has been married for ten years and quite normal I think. I mean c'mon, do you really hear everything that your spouse says to you? Exactly. Not long ago, my mom noticed a change and mentioned it to Mistress who validated her concerns. They have been working together to find some solutions for me.

She has also noticed me more depressed this year. I certainly have my down moments, which I attribute to Ironman training, long work hours and such. I have been around people who are depressed and I most certainly have never seen myself in that light. I have always tried to maintain a sunny disposition. Some of it I think I can dismiss as presumptive on her part, but I think it's easier for her to see this in me, than I in myself. No one wants to be called depressed and I certainly don't think I act that way.

But I myself began looking towards some answers over the last few months. I was especially interested in recent studies on retired NFL players who have suffered repetitive concussions and traumatic brain injuries and now in their late 40's and 50's are entering into greater numbers not only into depression but Alzheimer's and Dementia which statically people do not enter until their 70's.

Mistress, with my support and blessing, was able to schedule an appointment for us this week with a doctor who specialized in neurological issues from head injuries. In the last two decades the profession of head injury has flourished. Back when I got mine, serious head injuries were really not taken, well seriously. That has changed. We are hoping that I can sort of get a 'Tune Up' on my cognitive abilities and learn some new techniques for retrieving words and names from my head.

Well that got rescheduled due to Mistress being pretty sick from a sinus infection she picked up in Seattle last week. I thought of going alone but I really need her testimony about my changes and have my degeneration come from someone who has witnessed them. I mean are you going to take the word of someone with a head injury on how they have changed? Didn't think so.

What I am confronted with, and perhaps for the first time, is that while I am a miracle recovery of traumatic brain injury and it makes for a funny and interesting lifestory; I have not recognized or admitted that some daily challenges exist that I have only faked my way through, dismissed concern about or created routines to overcome.

This is by no means a post about depressing or evil things. I am excited about life. Loving my training. Looking forward to some big happenings at work by the end of the year. I am actually looking forward to getting some help coping with my cognitive functions. If for nothing else than to be able to say what I say without worrying if what I said made any sense.

That make sense?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I have a hard time being around crowds. When it comes to tight spaces or confined environments, I am just fine, put me in a crowd of people and I tend to become very frustrated. It think part of it is that with the mental routines I am constantly cycling through from my head injury, I know I can't control other people and when I get around them it affects my ability to control myself so I forget things like who I am with, where I am going, what I am supposed to be doing (which is why I us lists), what I was going to say. Thats why I tend to be defensive in crowds and towards the back of groups I am with, so I can see everyone. I used to think it was because I was some sort of protector looking out for those around me, but that is a fairly tale. Its because I need visuals to remind myself about whats going on.

People often wonder why I don't have more parties at my house. I have, by comparable means, a rather large house with lots of stuff for people to do and lots of toys for kids to play with, but to me its my Fortress of Solitude. Its the one place I know I can go that shuts out all the noise and allows me to not have to think about all that I say or do. I can sit and read and drink my fizzy water and when I need some additional sensory de2 Mistress has no problem with me going upstairs while Mo watches a movie and I get the buzzing out of my head.

I suppose its common. People have different levels of crowd tolerance they can handle. We have all had our moments where we are completely frustrated by the slow movers in front of us and the jostling that occurs at fairs and concerts and large gatherings. Its a part of life that I try to avoid.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Interbike 2007 report from the floor

My very good friend and advocate Kevin, is the owner of Tribe Multisport. His company is the largest triathlon store in the Phoenix metro area and as plainly obvious at any local triathlon, has a tremendous footprint in this incredible sport most of us enjoy. Not only does his crew uphold quality customer service that honestly puts most LBS to shame, Kevin genuinely is a man who cares about his customers and their level of experience in his store.

As many of you know, I would not think a trip to the valley is complete without introducing you to Kevin. And as especially Nytro and Benny have found, his generosity lasts past my presence or that singular event. Kevin and his crew truly make me proud to introduce them to new people. How many of you simply must introduce your out of town guests to your LBS crew? Exactly.

He is a fountain of information in the sport and innovative in his approach to business. Recently he took his entire staff to Interbike in Las Vegas and he wrote a message to many of his close friends relating his experience. I knew immediately it was gold and asked if I could post his message, which of course he gave full consent to do.

Please enjoy.

Howdy everybody,

With all of the Interbikes I have attended, it is getting increasingly difficult to get excited about it. When I was a kid, you go to the show and are blown away at the sheer magnitude of it all, being awed at each turn of every isle seeing one new thing after another. Then, you get older and it becomes quite routine; you know, the same bike lines with close to the same product with new splashes of paint and some slightly varied component specification. …and even worse, when you become a shop owner, you literally sign your life away. I go to the show with the responsibility of “forecasting” the year to come with pre-season orders. This includes all of the bike lines, some of the accessory lines, and all of your clothing lines.

This year was a little different. At first glance, the show seemed to be just another dog and pony show of last years stuff with new shiny paint. BUT WAIT!!! There was new stuff every where I was winding up. J!!!!! New wheels, new frames, new computers and heart rate monitors, and completely redesigned clothing lines. Below are some of the highlights that caught my eye.


For me, Argon 18 had the show stealer. Their new triathlon frame set is not only wicked cool looking, but functionally correct. It is the Element 114 and it is very obvious that they did their homework when it came to the finishing touches. They use M-series carbon throughout, proper internal cable routing, functional and beautiful integrated aero bars and fork with 6 cm of adjustability (!!!!!). Wind tunnel testing was off the hook for this guy too! They also have a version called the Element 112 with conventional cockpit for those needing a more affordable option.

Cervelo is staying the course with their resilient and proven P3C and P2C offerings. New paint and a new $2,500 option on the P2C. They have a new road frame that is quite a find… The RS: a race bike for the older athlete or distance road racer.

Felt is always good for good looking bikes. Their ability to “buy” market share is diminishing a bit, but they still offer some neat stuff. They have a Tri bike that is $9,500!!! Holy cow! It looks really cool, but 10K? Not for me, but thanks.

As for complete lines, I am most excited about Jamis, oddly enough. They are not really known for their “wow” factor, but they brought it in truck loads this year. They have a road line up that is to die for. The buzz about the show was, “did you see the wind tunnel results for the new Jamis?” You may want to sit down for this one: A wind tunnel test was conducted with almost all of the heavy hitters and specialty bikes and the Jamis Zenith T bikes TOPPED the list. There will be a line for these. J Good thing I sell ‘em.

Kuota is always strong and their booth is always packed. I am their number one dealer in Arizona, number 4 in the western half, and number 12 in the world and I even had to wait for them to create a free moment to walk me through line. Their road bikes are always amazing, and their tri bikes are among the best of the best. This year, they are trumping that!!! The new Kueen K is a sub 900 gram triathlon frame that Norm Stadler rides and now we age groupers can too… and it is sweet! They also introduced the K-Factor SL; it is 400 grams lighter that the K-Factor and more substantial looking. I have already received some of these for the floor, so it wasn’t as exciting. LADIES!!! The K-Factor will now be available in an XS frame in a women specific geometry! Yee Haw!!! It never hurts to have some options.

The lightest bike at the show was at our local frame builders booth, Ruegamer. Brent had a sub 8 lb road racing bike!!! It is ridable and way cool! As I attended meeting after meeting, Brent’s name kept coming up. The big boys noticed him and are keeping an eye on him.

There was a slew of way cool bikes with ginormous price tags from the usual suspects: Time, BMC, Look, Pinarello and others. Beautiful? Yes. Ridiculously priced? Uuh huh.


Lew, Lightweight, Mavic, Reynolds, Zipp and others were showing off their ultralight wheels. Lew and Lightweight are the lightest of the bunch (currently), but they are really expensive ($3,500-$6000). Mavic has the new Carbone Ultra (and so does Tribe) and they are almost as light with NO weight limit. J Zipp has retooled and changed their line up a little… they are joining Blackwell with a 100mm rim and are now offering a more aerodynamic disc. Reynolds is offering a bunch of new wheels and in my opinion, the most complete racing wheel line up among the bunch of ‘em. They now have a disc wheel and an 85mm rim’d wheel/set. Really sweet. There are more race-able wheels in the sub $800 category to include some in the $450ish range!


Usually, it is the same old stuff with different colors… NOT THIS YEAR! Holy cow! This spring will be gangbusters when it comes to the many choices that the triathlon market will have.

Zoot is still going to be the industry leader with their proven lines and innovation in technology. Come late February, Zoot will release their new running shoe line. There is so much design and intelligence that went into this shoe, that it most likely will receive some awards. It is so functional for triathletes that Newton will be shaking in their shoes. Diana is currently testing them… feel free to hit her up for the results in the near future.

TYR is re-born. They blew my mind!!! They completely redesigned their entire line up; scrapping their tired old stuff in favor of technically proficient and smart looking pieces with excellent color stories. I can’t wait for this to hit the shelves in the Spring. They are also offering some new goggles that seal like there is no tomorrow. Large busted ladies, Tyr will be offering a new sport top that not only will give you coverage, but also will hold everything in place. We had one of our gals give it the bounce test and it passes with flying colors!!!

Pearl Izumi has some great new running shoe offerings that will hit the shelves come late Feb, early March.

Jaggad and 2XU are looking extremely sharp for 2008. Again, I’ll have their offerings on the shelves come late winter and early spring.


It was funny how many manufacturers were saying, “we are the only company using the new Yamamoto 40 neoprene.” It got to the point where it was practically a joke, laughable if you will. Either Yamamoto is lying to their wetsuit companies or each company is completely oblivious to their competitors… who knows.

Zoot still offers the very sweet Xenith. They will now be offering a lower priced version of the same technology in a suit that will hit $450.

Blue Seventy, Neo-Sport, QR, Profile, Aquaman, and others are offering some updated versions of their offerings from last year.

2XU has some new features on their suits as well… you know Tribe will have them in stock the second they are available.

Nineteen continues to impress us all. Not only is their customer service to die for, but their product just keeps getting better and better. They us a blend of Yamamoto in the flexibility zones and Jako in the durability zones. Jake tried one on and both Diana and Jake will be sporting the new Nineteen Frequency as their wetsuit of choice for 2008. (Note: They were not comp’d the product, they purchased it!)


SRM is still the king of the jungle with their $3,000 plus power meters… BUT WAIT!!! They have some serious competition. Tons of technology hit the market this year. Let’s see if I can get it all to you here…

Power meters and cross compatibility was the “it” thing this year. Garmin has the new 705 forerunner and edge coming out! Super cool and way functional… the 705 allows interface with the majority of the Power Meters out there.

Polar was showing off their new wireless version power meter. They have worked out the bugs from versions past. Their demo version seemed to work, but is is still very clunky looking. Polar is now offering the 810 GS which is GPS enabled. Other than that, staying the course.

QuarQ is joining the foray of Power Meters with a lower cost alternative to SRM. Not quite as refined, but I love to see the competition.

I-Bike is still one of my personal favorites. They work with a few short comings at a very low price tag. Whoa! They fixed the short comings and now offer a complete wireless system and can also be used on a trainer!!! Yee Haw!!!

VDO will soon hit the market with one of the slickest heart rate monitor/bike computer around… did I mention that it will also do theoretical Power for less than $400?!!!!! I can’t wait.

Sigma continues to be the bang for the buck option that absolutely no one can beat. The bike computers rock. The heart rate monitors make Polar worry. …and their customer service is A++.

As always, the show is overwhelming and yielded a clear portal as to what 2008 will offer up. Now it is time to get my nose back to the grind stone. Please feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions about product that is on the horizon.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I swear there is an Ironman connection here.

It's hard to teach a four year old about honor. First it starts with action and then philosophy. When Mo and I play with a swords, (foam, plastic or wood) I have taught him ritual honor. We always bow to each other before charging (like jousting knights). When we hand each other swords we hold the sword horizontal balanced in both hands and we bow our heads (think samurai ritual). Mo gets all that.

The philosophy of honor right now is the 'Please' and 'Thank yous'. Addressing adults as Mr. Jeff or Miss Wendy. Saying Yes and No instead of Yea and Nah. At night we talk about how good deeds and politeness honors your parents.

When I finished my first Ironman, I got the tattoo. My business partner/mentor/boss has had this thing about tattoos. Doesn't like them. Doesn't want to see them on employees at work. I knew that I would get the tattoo and I would honor my bosses personal tastes by wearing a 3x4 inch band aid over it when I wore work shorts in the office. I wear shorts practically every day so I have been buying $10 worth of bandages each month to cover it up.

I had hoped by honoring my partner, the figurehead of our company, and discussing my personal choice to employees to get the tattoo and cover it, it would show honor to him and set an example for the company. Well there may be honor amongst us but my example did not spur a run on covering an increasing number or tattoos among employees.

Most people who knew what it was, thought I was silly. "We're in the fitness business. You have an Ironman tattoo, not some skull or barb wire on your arms or legs. He should have no problem with that."

My response has always been the same. I wouldn't ask, if he found out and allows me to show it, I will. But there is no honor in asking for forgiveness when I did not ask for permission. 'Forgiveness' for lack of a better word, needs to be received not asked for, in this situation.

Today I picked him up at the airport, he commutes from Seattle two or three times a month for a few days at a time, and as I carried his bags into the office he asks what I did to my calf. I explained I got an Ironman tattoo last year and covered it up at work since I know he did not like tattoos.

We were just walking in the parking lot, and he says to me, "Commodore, that's just silly. I don't care if you show you Ironman tattoo."

I can see how this could be such a trivial issue to read about, but the implication to me is huge. I showed honor to my partner for many months when no one else did. And even though it appears he had no interest one way or the other on the subject, I upheld myself and my honor for a long time to a standard that I know he has expressed in the past and I am proud of that.

To be released from that standard, to know my honor saw me through perhaps a silly situation, to proudly show my M-Dot among a company or fitness oriented people, is so awesome for me. It's like I got inked all over again. And it gives me an object lesson to talk to Mo about when we discuss honor tonight.